With the NFL's suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice this week, following a video that surfaced of him assaulting his then-fiancée, much of the local response has focused on 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who was arrested over Labor Day weekend on suspicion of felony domestic violence after an altercation with his pregnant fiancée.
McDonald played in the first game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys, but not without criticism from local media who thought he should have been put on administrative leave until the legal process was complete.
The San Jose Police Department said McDonald's fiancée had “visible injuries,” and the Sac Bee reports that police were previously called to his house in May. McDonald has not been charged and his court date is set for September 15.
At today's San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting, Supe. London Breed introduced a resolution denouncing the franchise and saying McDonald should not be allowed to play in the 49ers' next game on Sunday, September 14. You can read an excerpt of the resolution below.
But based on what 49ers CEO Jed York said today in a radio interview, Breed — and anyone else who wants to see McDonald sit — won't get their way.
As the Merc reports, York said McDonald will not be punished until more evidence around the case emerges.
"Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice," York said. "As a society, we have a sense of saying, 'You didn't do it with Ray Rice right away, so you need to overdo it with Ray McDonald, or whoever else it is.' I don't believe that's the country we live in. I don't think that's a fair way to approach it."
York continued: "I don't have enough information to convict Ray McDonald in one way or another. The legal process hasn't vetted itself. The criminal investigation has not vetted itself yet."
Former 49ers players Steve Young and Ronnie Lott have spoken out against the team's decision to play McDonald.
Supe. London Breed includes a quote from former 49er Brent Jones in her resolution, which you can read an excerpt of below:
WHEREAS, On Sunday August 31st, 49er defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County Jail on felony domestic violence charges, which the Santa Clara district attorney is currently investigating; and
WHEREAS, Only one week after his arrest, and in spite of the serious criminal charges against him, the 49ers allowed Mr. McDonald to play in their September 7 game against the Dallas Cowboys; and
WHEREAS, While criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty and prosecutors must prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt, the threshold of accountability should rightly lower for decisions about participating in a corporate athletic event for the public’s entertainment; and
WHEREAS, 49ers legend Brent Jones recently said, “The logical, thoughtful leadership move would be not to have [Mr. McDonald] play;” and
WHEREAS, In most cases the city of San Francisco places its own employees, such as police officers and firefighters, on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of serious criminal charges related to their job; and
WHEREAS, Mr. McDonald should be held to the same standard as everyone else whose uniform bears the name “San Francisco”; and
WHEREAS, The National Football League (NFL) only suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after video surfaced of him dragging his unconscious then-fiancée out of a public elevator; and
WHEREAS, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell subsequently apologized for the unjustifiably lax treatment of Mr. Rice; and
WHEREAS, The National Football League specifically, major league sports in general, and American culture must do more to stop domestic violence and protect the victims of abuse; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors denounces the 49ers’ decision to allow Ray McDonald to play on Sunday September 7 and urges the 49ers not to repeat the same mistake this Sunday September 14; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges the 49ers and the NFL to reevaluate and strengthen their procedures for addressing accusations of criminal activity, particularly domestic violence, levied against their personnel.