Elissa Ennis, the woman who alleged that Reuben Foster slapped her last month, precipitating his release from the San Francisco 49ers, said she was “shocked” when the Washington Redskins quickly claimed the troubled linebacker.
“When he got signed, I was like, I can’t believe somebody picked him up,” Ennis told “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Thursday morning, her first public comments on the incident. “I just couldn’t believe somebody picked him up in less than, how many hours? I was shocked.”
Ennis also answered questions about her previous allegation against Foster. That allegation resulted in domestic violence charges against Foster in California, charges that were eventually dropped when Ennis recanted, saying she had fabricated the allegations as part of “a money scheme.” Ennis said in the ABC interview that she has feelings for Foster, her longtime on-again off-again boyfriend, and that she lied in recanting the allegation to protect him.
“Love will have you doing things that’s not in your best interests,” she said. " . . . I did what I had to do for the person I love. I thought that he would change.”
The NFL last week placed Foster, 24, on the commissioner’s exempt list pending a league investigation into the incident; he is unlikely to play this season.
The latest alleged incident occurred Nov. 24 when the 49ers were in Tampa to play the Buccaneers. Ennis, 28, said Foster had invited her to come to Florida to discuss their relationship, which had been put on pause. Ennis said both she and Foster had been seeing therapists and trying to work on their relationship, and that Foster was seeing other women. The fight was triggered, she said, when she threatened “to tell his new girlfriend that he had paid for my flight out there.”
Ennis told police in Tampa that Foster slapped her face, pushed her chest, and slapped a phone out of her hand. In the television interview, she said that she had bruises on her neck and face and a concussion, and that officers saw a one-inch scratch on her left collarbone.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe you — you’re back to doin’ this,’” Ennis told “GMA.”
Ennis said in the interview that the 49ers had tried to minimize her claims by informing police about the previous incident, which she had recanted. In February, Ennis told police near San Jose that Foster had punched her and dragged her across his home during an argument, leaving her with a swollen lip, a ruptured ear drum, and cuts and scratches on her neck and legs.
“I have pictures of the 49ers coming up there trying to talk to the police, telling them I’m the same ex-girlfriend that [previously] lied,” she said.
Foster was released the next day and picked up by the Redskins on Nov. 27. Ennis said that decision felt like “a slap in the face,” according to ABC’s Linsey Davis.
In a statement to ABC, a 49ers spokesman said the team “fully cooperated with authorities, assisted in locating Mr. Foster and in no way impeded their investigation.” Foster and his representatives did not respond to ABC’s request for comment. The Redskins told the network the team did its own investigation into the incident and was waiting to see how it is resolved. The Post reported on Tuesday that Tampa police were unaware of Washington’s independent investigation into the case, with a spokesman saying the agency’s public information office has had no contact with team President Bruce Allen or anyone else from the Redskins.
After the Redskins claimed Foster, senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said in statement that the team understood the severity of the allegations, and that “if true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.” He was widely criticized after a radio interview two days later in which he seemed to minimize Foster’s alleged offense. Williams later apologized, saying “never in my life have I said something so insensitive. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses, because there is no excuse.”
Foster also was arrested on a marijuana charge in January, a charge that was later dropped. He later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession of an assault weapon and was given two years probation. He served a two-game suspension at the start of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. The 49ers had warned Foster that further incidents would likely prompt his release.
“Unfortunately in life there’s consequences for your actions,” San Francisco GM John Lynch said after the team released Foster, saying front office officials “were all in lockstep” with that decision. “When you show bad judgment, particularly after something has been communicated very clearly what the expectations are, there are consequences.”
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