About five hours before the 49ers began their first home game of the 2014-2015 season, Lt. Gov/former SF mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, were not, as you might have expected, out shopping for game-day snacks. Instead, they were (by way of Newsom's spokesperson) sending out a strongly-worded statement urging the football team's management to not allow defensive end Ray McDonald to play, following his August 31 arrest on domestic violence charges.
According to the Chron, McDonald's pregnant fiancee had "visible injuries" when police were called to McDonald's San Jose home at 2 a.m. that Sunday morning. The 6'4', 300 pound player was released from jail that same day on $25,000 bond.
The Santa Clara District Attorney's office tweeted Friday morning that McDonald's first court hearing, which had been scheduled for today, has been postponed. According to the Chron, the delay is because prosecutors "have yet to receive documents about the case from police."
The investigation of the McDonald matter continues. Monday's court date will be postponed. A later date will be announced 9/15 by the court.— Santa Clara DA (@SantaClaraDA) September 12, 2014
In the interim, however, McDonald continues to play for the team, as both Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and league commissioner Roger Goodell have said that they want to "let the criminal investigation play out" before taking action against the player.
Hence Sunday's statement sent to the media by Newsom and his wife, which reads:
The City and County of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area has long stood staunchly on the forefront of domestic violence awareness and prevention. That's why the 49ers’ continued insistence on playing Ray McDonald during his ongoing criminal investigation is a painful affront to every victim of domestic violence and sends a troubling message to our community and especially our children that 'zero tolerance' are empty words, not real actions. In light of the increased public awareness of this issue in the wake of the horrific Ray Rice assault and today's decision by the Carolina Panthers to deactivate Greg Hardy, we strongly urge the 49er organization we grew up revering to do the right thing — right now — and bench Ray McDonald, pending the outcome of his felony domestic violence investigation by San Jose law enforcement.
The Newsoms' censure of the Niners follows a resolution introduced at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting by District 5 Supe London Breed, which reads in part that "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...Mr. McDonald should be held to the same standard as everyone else whose uniform bears the name 'San Francisco.'"
Newsom, a diehard 49ers fan, must have felt torn when the 49ers ended up losing Sunday's game to the Chicago Bears 28-20. Not the worst loss ever, but, as we noted yesterday, "it was the first time the Niners have lost a home opener under coach Jim Harbaugh and the end of an eight-game winning streak against the Bears on the Niners' home turf." Karma? The Newsoms, perhaps, might believe so.