When 49ers Ray McDonald was arrested for felony domestic violence this weekend, he became the first test case for the league’s new, tougher policy on the matter.
But he’ll also test his own coach’s long-held attitude toward players who put their hands on women.
During his regular appearance on KNBR this morning, Harbaugh made it clear he would not tolerate behavior such that McDonald has been accused of.
“I’ll be very clear,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Maiocco of 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.”
Asked if he would not allow a player convicted of such charges to remain on his team, he replied: “Yes, we would not. We can be very clear.”
McDonald is continuing to practice with the 49ers, and has maintained his innocence. The 49ers have said they’ll continue to investigate, and Harbaugh said he was also convinced he needed to let the legal process play out.
“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 due process. And I ask for your understanding on those two principles.”
Those are not mutually exclusive principles. But it does put Harbaugh in stark contrast to his brother John, who has wrapped his arms around running back Ray Rice, whose shamefully light punishment triggered the increased punishment McDonald could face.