When it comes to the NFL’s new policy on domestic violence, many of the details won’t be known until a player or two (or more) end up caught in the gears of its application.
The first player to be caught in the gears of the application of the new domestic violence policy apparently will be 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald.
According to Damian Trujillo of NBC Bay Area, McDonald has been arrested for domestic violence.
Per Trujillo, the alleged victim is pregnant, which by the terms of the new policy could result in an eventual suspension beyond the first-offense baseline of six games.
Before the process reaches that point, the case against McDonald will have to develop. ESPN reported in the aftermath of the announcement of the new policy that an “offense” will arise only after final adjudication of the criminal case, which suggests that a civil settlement with the victim that results in no prosecution could help the player escape punishment.
Asked whether the “final adjudication” report from ESPN is accurate, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT, “We deal with the facts of each case at the appropriate time and make decisions on those case when the process is completed.”
The facts of the first case apparently will involve Ray McDonald, a key member of the San Francisco defense who became a full-time starter upon the arrival of coach Jim Harbaugh.
The fact that Harbaugh is McDonald’s coach could create a separate area of trouble for the player, based on this quote from former 49ers safety Donte Whitner: “He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he’ll forgive us except put our hands on women. If you put your hand on a woman then you’re done in his book.”
So maybe, in the end, Harbaugh will be even harder on McDonald than the league office will be.