Another 49er Arrest and the “Curse”

By Robert Haugh

Just when we thought the 49ers had returned to winning ways with the signing of Jimmy Garoppolo last Thursday, Reuben Foster gets arrested for alleged domestic violence three days later.

That’s earth shaking news because Foster was the team’s best defensive player last year as a rookie and a rising NFL star.

This is a major decision for 49ers CEO Jed York, General Manager John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan.

Will they keep Foster like they did with Aldon Smith who was also a great young player? But Smith was arrested four times between 2012 and 2014 (none for domestic violence) before the team finally gave up on him.

Or will the team release Foster like they did with Tramaine Brock in 2017 just one day after he was arrested for domestic violence?

This decision will tell us a lot about the team’s management.

The Curse?

We speculated last year, way before Garoppolo rode into town, that the 49ers are under the spell of two possible curses.

On the field, the may be under the Jim Harbaugh Curse. Harbaugh took the team to three NFC championships and one Super Bowl from 2011-2014. Since Harbaugh was fired by York, the team is 13-35. Ouch. That record includes Garoppolo’s 5-0 record last year.

On the issue of domestic violence, Harbaugh had no tolerance. In 2014, he told KNBR: “If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding. There’s no tolerance for that.”

If Harbaugh were still with the team, there’s no doubt he’d release Foster if the allegations prove true. We’ll see if the team does something different in the coming days.

Jim Harbaugh Jed York
Former 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Team executive Jed York.

But there’s also another possible curse on the team in the community where they can’t seem to do anything right:  the Curse of the Youth Soccer Park.

In 2012, York promised in writing and in meetings with the youth soccer community to build new soccer fields because of the impact of the neighboring stadium on NFL game days. York wrote:

“To demonstrate our commitment to our community’s young soccer players and their families we are proposing that the 49ers underwrite several regulation-sized additional soccer fields in Santa Clara. These fields would be dedicated and maintained for the use of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League during NFL game days.”

Then York broke his promise. The soccer community was informed two years later, in early 2014, by then 49ers Vice President Larry MacNeilthat the team would not build any fields.

From that point on, most Santa Clarans stopped trusting the 49ers. A ballot measure passed with almost 90 percent of the vote to keep the 49ers from getting the Youth Soccer Park without a vote of the people. That’s not a typo. The yes vote was 89.6 percent.

Also, from that point on, 49er players have been arrested at an alarming rate. Since 2014, 11 players have been arrested. That’s more than any other NFL team.

Maybe the only way to break the curse is for York to fulfill his promise. But if he won’t do it, maybe Jimmy G. can use some of his 5-year $137.5 million contract to build some youth soccer fields in Santa Clara.


  1. Did the curse start after the Niners were cheated by the refs in their last Superbowl appearance? Was Harbaugh upset with the York family for not protesting that rigged Superbowl game? Could that be a big reason for the rift between Harbaugh and the York family? Will we ever know the real story? A lot of unanswered questions.

  2. I say we should with hold judgment until we hear what Miles Barber has to say in the Weakly. No doubt he will explain how this is the fault of Mayor Gillmor and Debi Davis.

    This is the second time Reuben Foster has been arrested in a month. No wonder he is taking a knee to protest the police, they interfere with his life style.

    And he can’t stand for the flag but he can stand for beating up women? Let’s see what 49er management will stand for.

  3. Coach Harbaugh was 100 percent right about no tolerance for domestic violence. I clicked your link and listened to his short interview. He’s a thoughtful man and has integrity. Let’s hope York and company listen to him.

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