49ers Taking Lead On How To Deal With Ray McDonald In Domestic Abuse Case
49ers GM Trent Baalke yesterday said that the team has "spoken to the NFL Office, but the organization is taking the lead on how to deal" with DE Ray McDonald following his arrest for domestic violence Sunday, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBAYAREA.com. Baalke said, "They're guiding us, but they're not telling us exactly how to handle this matter. And the matter will be handled by the organization." Baalke said that he could "not answer whether McDonald will play" in Sunday's opener against the Cowboys. Baalke: "We're still in the fact-finding mode, trying to get as much information as we can." Maiocco noted the 49ers in '13 allowed LB Aldon Smith to play "two days after he was involved in a single-vehicle incident and was arrested on DUI charges." But Baalke said that this incident "did not set a precedent that will be used with McDonald" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 9/2). Baalke yesterday said that he, coach Jim Harbaugh and the organization are "united in their stance against domestic violence," but added that "no decision had yet to reached" about McDonald’s status with the team (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted Harbaugh "has been so loudly out there about his disdain for domestic violence that you would think he wouldn't allow" McDonald to play this weekend. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said Harbaugh is "going to come off as a complete and utter hypocrite" if McDonald plays ("PTI," ESPN, 9/2).
MAKING THE CALL: In San Jose, Tim Kawakami noted Baalke "decides what the 49ers' rules are, not Harbaugh." Kawakami: "I presume owner Jed York could decide team policy but to this point he has ceded all control of that to his GM and all evidence is that York will continue to do this." Meanwhile, Harbaugh said that there are “'two principles at play here' -- the 49ers and Harbaugh personally will not tolerate domestic violence and also they believe in due process." Because of Harbaugh's intolerance for domestic abuse, if McDonald is found guilty, it would "follow that the 49ers would not want him on the team" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2). Also in San Jose, Mark Purdy wrote the 49ers are "trying to walk a very fragile line." They want to "convince people that they are uber-sensitive to perceptions about being soft on players who are arrested ... while at the same time wanting to retain every possible advantage when it comes to winning games." Purdy: "I would suspend McDonald while the investigation of his alleged actions is ongoing. But I didn’t just write him out a check for [$2.645M]. And I think it is naïve to believe none of that plays a part in how this is all playing out" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2).