The San Francisco 49ers don't appear to be ready to suspend defensive tackle Ray McDonald in lieu of his domestic abuse charges before the legal process plays out.
McDonald was arrested on Sunday for felony domestic assault and posted $25,000 bail and was released from Santa Clara County Jail.
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The NFL is taking a harder stance on domestic abuse after Roger Goodell admitted he "got it wrong" on Ray Rice's suspension following his abuse incident with his then-fianceé back in February.
But for now, the 49ers are taking a wait-and-see approach to McDonald's case, even if head coach Jim Harbaugh said there's no place for violence like that on his team.
"I'll be very clear," Harbaugh said on the KNBR Morning Show, via Matt Maiocco at CSNBayArea.com. "You ask me how I feel about domestic violence. I can be very clear about that. If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding. There’s no tolerance for that."
Harbaugh said he would not allow a player who was found guilty of domestic abuse on his team.
"Yes, we would not," he said. "We can be very clear."
49ers GM Trent Baalke said in a statement that the 49ers are still gathering facts on the case. For now, McDonald can still practice with the team, and from the team's statements, it appears he'll be eligible — as of now — to play in the 49ers' season opener on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
“There are going to be two principles at play here,” Harbaugh said. “And one is, I’ll speak for myself, I’ll speak for the 49ers: We’ll not tolerate domestic violence. The second principle, we’re firm believers in is due process. And I ask for your understanding on those two principles.
“This is a legal matter, and I’m not here to tell you what happened because I don’t know. And I think we all owe, to everyone involved, the ability for due process to take place. All the questions you could ask me, I understand why you’re asking, but this is a process that has to conducted, has to be concluded, and then we’ll be in a better place in time to have this discussion and/or make judgments.”
Some of the details of what exactly happened the night of the alleged incident between McDonald and his girlfriend at what reportedly was McDonald's birthday party. 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said he and several other 49ers players were at the party Saturday night.
"I'm not sure if it was half [the team] or 75 percent," Davis said. "I know guys came to support Ray on his birthday. We love each other so we have to support each other.
"I was actually leaving, on my way out, and I saw the cops around, just because. ... As far as what went on, I don't really know. I wish I could tell you guys something.
"I didn't see anything. I didn't hear anything," he said. "So I don't know what went on over there. I wish I could put my finger on it. I don't know. All I do know is Ray is a great guy. He's awesome. He has great character. Everyone on the team knows that. He's a guy of good integrity, great character, hard worker, good player. He comes to work each and every day."
Will McDonald be hit with a six-game suspension, which represents Goodell's tougher stance for first-time offenders? That's likely if the charges stick. And if and when that occurs, the 49ers' beleaguered defense would take another hit, with Aldon Smith suspended the first nine games and linebacker NaVorro Bowman sidelined indefinitely.
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