Hours after a close loss on the football field to the Washington Redskins, two San Francisco 49ers players managed to stave off a second loss — at gunpoint.
Early Monday morning, linebackers Ray-Ray Armstrong and Reuben Foster were at the Love and Propaganda nightclub, located 85 Campton Place, when the Foster noticed a white Audi with tinted windows repeatedly casing the premises. This left him feeling “like he was going to be robbed,” according to a subsequent police report.
Foster, a rookie, presciently handed his watch and rings to a female friend within the club, and he and Armstrong, a fifth-year player, asked a security guard to walk the two of them and another man to their car.
Despite the presence of the guard, the players claim the Audi driver was undeterred, pulling up in close proximity to them. Two masked men wearing white hoodies emerged, carrying an assault rifle and a handgun. The police report states the would-be robbers pointed their guns at the four men.
At this point, the victims claimed they turned and ran like hell, inducing the alleged assailants to retreat, empty-handed, driving eastbound on Post Street. Foster and Armstrong ended up at the St. Francis Hotel, where they called the police. Neither was injured nor lost any possessions.
The incident took place around 2 a.m. Monday, Oct. 16. City leaders were informed by police of the robbery attempt by 6:30 a.m. Monday.
Team spokesman Bob Lange said the players are off today, and that he is looking into the incident.
“We are aware of the reports regarding the robbery and are very thankful no one was harmed. Reuben and Ray-Ray have been, and will continue to be, cooperative with any further police investigation,” Lange said in a statement.
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Veteran police officers praised Foster and Armstrong for their quick thinking. “They did the right thing,” said an SFPD veteran. “They were smart enough to have the security guard escort them to their car. But you don’t want to take on [high-powered weaponry]. Better to get out of there.”
As for whether to run or submit to the robbers, another veteran cop said that running is “simply human nature.” For those who run more slowly than young NFL players in prime condition, however, it may be a riskier move. “You’re betting that the robbers aren’t so committed that they’re going to shoot,” says the officer. “But you’re gambling with your life.”
Armstrong and Foster are hardly the first pro athletes targeted for armed robbery in this city. In January 2015, then-Warriors player Marreese Speights was waylaid by a “group of gang members” outside the now-closed Cellar night club on Sutter, who demanded his gold chains. A gun was pulled on the 6-foot-10 center, but he sprinted to safety.
An arrest was made in that case. None has yet been made in the more recent incident. Police said video evidence is being analyzed.