In the era of cell phones and social media, nothing is ever private. Once you press send you never knows where it can go or where it ends up. From the White House on down, communication in 2018 has changed for the better and for the worse. Athletes in today’s world live in an environment where every move they make and everything they type or post will be evaluated and interpreted. Linebacker Mason Foster has found himself in that situation now and the Redskins have another situation to deal with.
Mason Foster was a diamond in the rough signing for the Redskins. After being cut by the Chicago Bears after the 3rd week of 2015, Bruce Allen picked up another former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Foster started out as a special teamer and ended up starting down the stretch of the team’s playoff run. In that offseason the Redskins extended Foster on a two year contract and Foster followed with his best season of his career in 2016 with 123 tackles and a sack in 16 games. In 2017 Foster’s season ended early after five games due to injury. Foster was brought back in the offseason for another two year contract much to the fans delight.
The 2018 season has been another story for Foster. While the defense has improved and Foster is leading the team in tackles with 108, Foster has become a weak link in a defense that has fallen off. While being healthy this season, Foster has routinely been attacked by opposing offenses in coverage and out of place in the running game. Foster’s low point was the game against the Eagles when Jason Kelce had a highlight play of blocking Foster back 15 yards with one arm then Darren Sproles running over Foster the touchdown.
Foster had said he had gotten off twitter because of the negative attention he was receiving which was undoubtedly a good move. However this week direct messages between Foster and a fan were posted and he had more than a few choice words for the Redskins franchise and the fans. Coach Jay Gruden confirmed that the messages were true and said the matter is over for him. Some of the other players were disappointed, not at what was said, but that those messages were made public.
The bigger issue here is the sense that coach Gruden has no control over his players and not enough respect for the fans. Fans have a loyalty to the franchise that the players and coaches don’t have. They see the Redskins as employers that are temporary and not a lifetime attachment. Fans were already disrespected when they felt Josh Norman and others, including Foster, called them out for not being present and giving them a home field advantage. Since those comments, the team as lost four straight including two at home. The franchise is reaching a point where the fan base is teetering on his support of the team.
Foster is most likely gone after this season, with a few others on this roster. Fans will move on and so will the players but there is a bigger issue here. You don’t see players on the New England Patriots having issues like this. Teams that are competitive don’t have these issues. Teams that have had recent success don’t have these issues. Foster is a smaller problem in a sea of huge concerns. Lack of competitive teams, horrible stadium experience, apathetic coaching staff and front office, the claiming of Ruben Foster, controversial name, unpopular owner, and you can see why fans are turned off. 1991 is seventeen seasons ago and unless a miracle run happens, this team will not be in the Super Bowl again this season.
Foster’s brother has come out and said that he was responsible for the majority of the replies in that direct message. Although taking blame is good, those ideas don’t come out of thin air. Foster probably does feel a certain way about being blamed for the issues of the team and drawing the ire of the fans. There are probably other players that feel the same way Foster does. The losers in all of the drama are the fans who truly care about the team and just want a winner. Until there is a massive change these things will continue to be the norm and FedEx Field will continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL.