The much bigger problem facing substance-snorting coach

Sporting News

Former Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster has problems beyond those related to a video that surfaced Sunday night, costing him his job with the NFL team.

Foerster and his wife, Michelle, owe the Internal Revenue Service almost $600,000 in unpaid taxes, dating back to 2012, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported, citing documents from the IRS.

Highly regarded as an offensive line coach, Foerster was one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the NFL, making between $2.5 million and $3 million, according to ESPN.

However, a video showing Foerster snorting a white, powdery substance surfaced late Sunday, leading to his resignation.

Michelle Foerster is a paediatric nurse who over the past two years has earned a certificate in addiction studies from St. Petersburg (Fla.) College, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Foerster at Dolphins training camp. Pic: Getty

The Foersters file jointly to the IRS, and according to the documents the Sun-Sentinel cited, they owe $591,397.51 in back federal taxes.

On Tuesday, the model who released the disturbing video that is currently sending shockwaves through the NFL explained why she made the bold move.

For those late to the story, a Las Vegas model named Kijuana Nige released a video of Miami Dolphins assistant coach Chris Foerster snorting a white powder through a $20 bill.

He talked dirty to the camera as he did lines and said he had to go to a team meeting.

It’s not difficult to leap to some disturbing possibilities: Foerster had an illegal substance in the Dolphins’ team facility, and he was high in at least one team function.

Either fellow Miami coaches didn’t recognise it or they knew about it, and either is an unpleasant thought.

Foerster resigned on Monday and said in a statement.

Foerster (left) reportedly sent the video to Nige (right). Pic: Twitter

"I want to apologise to the organisation and my sole focus is on getting the help that I need with the support of my family and medical professionals."

Throughout Monday morning, the yuk-yuks filled social media and sports radio – Talk about a “line” coach!

Bet he’s good at teaching crackback blocks! – but there is something serious underlying the scandal, and it’s a warning all teams should recognise.

The Dolphins reportedly added a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem, and Nige apparently released the video as a response to the backlash against pregame protests. She wrote on social media:

"I have plenty of white friends so I’m not making this a race issue. People are missing the point," Nige wrote.

"My point is everyone has to be held accountable for their decisions they roast players over anthems while the coaches be high as s–t and probably can’t sing along.

"The white people mad at me like I forced blow down this mans nose and like I recorded it on tha low [sic]. No those are his habits and he recorded himself and sent it to me professing his love. So quick to make excuses for him but will roast a minority player over an anthem, dog fights, weed, domestic issues etc. But y’all keep saying ALL LIVES MATTER STFU‼”

Later on, she added what seemed like a threat: “They better leave ppl like Colin Kaepernick alone before I pick off more of ’em you know this sh*t easy 4 me.”

This may be one person blowing hot air, but it goes to the deep anger among many people at how the NFL is sidestepping the real concerns of people in its community.

Politicians and the media have focused on the resentment caused by the police brutality protests, pointing to the kneeling by Kaepernick and other athletes as an affront to the military.

We know all about the offense taken by jersey-burning fans as well as power-wielders like Vice President Mike Pence, who spent nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money to fly to Indianapolis and stage his own anthem protest on Sunday.

He had the full backing of President Donald Trump, who suggested last month that “sons of bitches” who protest during the anthem should be removed from the field.

Trump has the ear of important NFL figures like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who proclaimed Sunday, “If we are disrespecting the flag then we won’t play. Period.”

The bottom line from the protest opponents: don’t disrespect the anthem. But the message to glean for black people in the NFL is this: We don’t really care about your problems.

Oh sure, there have been unity displays lately, but Jones’ words and the Dolphins’ decree show the real goal is to make the problem go away.

Create the appearance of solidarity, then turn your back. Think about the pains taken by NFL teams lately to make sure they seem patriotic. But what lengths has the league gone to address the issues of black athletes and their families?

The NFL has had many months to show true interest in listening to its players about police accountability. The protests have all been peaceful (silent, actually), and framed by the insistence that this is not about disrespecting the flag or the anthem or the military.

Some of the protesters have shown their genuineness by visiting with public officials or police officers or children in the community. Kaepernick has pledged $1 million.

Players have dealt with severe backlash and responded with continued investment of their time and resources. This is because the issues of racial injustice and police brutality affect them to their very core.

Someone doesn’t risk a dream job, reputation, and potentially safety unless something is deeply bothering them and their loved ones. There are many NFL families who are legitimately afraid of encounters with police.

With a few exceptions such as Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford agreeing to back players’ causes with money, the protesters have been regarded as nuisances and distractions. Do it on your own time, said Cabinet member Steven Mnuchin, who can’t even be bothered to fly on his own dime even though his net worth is estimated at $500 million.

The echo of dismissal and denigration by elites only reinforces Kaepernick’s initial claim: that there’s suppression if not outright oppression from the very top tier of American society. Don’t speak; just play. And be grateful for the opportunity to play without speaking.

But that gets us back to Ms. Nige and the “domestic issues” she wrote about. The NFL has a history of harping on the missteps of its players while ignoring real-life problems affecting families.

For years, domestic violence was swept under the rug or worse. Only when the Ray Rice video emerged did more people realize the true nature of the disease. Steroid abuse and opioid use are also problems that have been cast aside as part of the game, even though both can have consequences after careers end. It’s the same with concussions.

The NFL does too little until there’s an urgent need for real engagement with players and their families. There is not a single problem that the NFL has in its orbit that hasn’t been made worse by looking the other way.

And now the Dolphins are making rules about the anthem so that the entire football community can look the other way.

One of the common arguments against the protests is that television ratings will crater as disaffected fans tune out. It’s bad for business. The NFL is indeed a business, with owners and employees. It has a right to conduct its business as it chooses.

But those employees are humans, with very human struggles. To ignore those individual lives is to risk a collective failure. If NFL executives forget the humanity of the people it employs, problems will build to a crisis right under their noses.

With Yahoo Sports