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49ers intend to honor due process on McDonald

Baalke Getty Images

On one hand, the 49ers won’t tolerate domestic violence.  On the other hand, the 49ers apparently won’t take action against a player accused of domestic violence prematurely.

“Well, right now it’s a legal matter,” G.M. Trent Baalke told reporters on Monday, via Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. “There’s such a thing called due process, and we intend on letting that play out.”

Asked whether McDonald, a key member of the defense, will play on Sunday, Baalke said, “Once again, it’s due process.  We’re still in the fact-finding mode, trying to get as much information as we can.  We’ll have more knowledge later today and certainly more knowledge the next day and moving forward.  So, nothing has been determined at this point.”

The reference to “due process” suggests that the 49ers won’t take action against McDonald until the foreperson of the jury declares him to be guilty, or until the legal case is otherwise resolved.  But other comments from Baalke indicate that the team may act before the court process has played out.

“We’re gathering as much information from as many different sources as we can,” Baalke said.  “Who those sources are, I’m not going to go into detail, but we’re certainly gathering information.  This matter is being treated seriously by this organization.  Once again, I can’t reiterate enough, domestic violence is not something that will be tolerated within the 49ers organization, period. . . .

“I don’t know that we’ll wait for the court process.  Once again, we’re in the mode of finding out as many facts as we can, talking to as many people as we can and trying to make the best decision we can for everybody involved: The organization, the player, the victim, everybody.”

Every team has a security detail, as does the league.  Typically, team and league security consist of former police officers and other law-enforcement officials who know how to gather information effectively and accurately.    Likewise, the 49ers have a unique relationship with McDonald.  He can invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in court; if he tries that stuff with coach Jim Harbaugh, McDonald may find himself out of a job.

Whatever happens, it appears that the initial discipline (if any) will come from the team and not from the league.

“We’ve been in contact with the league on several occasions since this incident took place,” Baalke said.  “And they know exactly the stance we’re taking and the things we’re trying to do to make the best possible decision we can.  They’re guiding us but they’re not telling us exactly how to handle this matter.  And the matter will be handled by the organization.”

That’s probably not good news for McDonald.  The league, still reeling from the Ray Rice debacle, has an opportunity to prove that it now takes the issue of domestic violence very seriously.  If the NFL is whispering in the ear of the 49ers on this one, the NFL most likely isn’t saying things like, “Take your time.  Respect due process.  Innocent until proven guilty.  Suspend him for only two games.”

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56 Responses to “49ers intend to honor due process on McDonald”
  1. 49erdynasty says: Sep 3, 2014 9:16 AM

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    If guilty, cut him. Heck… cut him anyways, enough is enough.

  2. carpalboss says: Sep 3, 2014 9:21 AM

    Who is “Due Process”? and why are we honoring him?

  3. xsorethumbx says: Sep 3, 2014 9:26 AM

    She better channel her inner mrs rice and apologize for not being able to take a punch

  4. celticsforever says: Sep 3, 2014 9:27 AM

    As much as you want to run off and suspend a guy, I really think they should wait until court plays out. There’s false accusations, self defence (she came at him with a knife, he defended himself etc). I am not condoning anything. But is it fair if he gets banned 6 games and the charges get thrown out because of false accusation? Then what? BUT… when the legal process plays through, if he is guilty, then throw the proverbial book at him.

  5. Wineshard says: Sep 3, 2014 9:27 AM

    What?!? They will follow due process? How dare they!

  6. willycents says: Sep 3, 2014 9:35 AM

    “Due process” will take years (Marshawn Lynch?). Then a plea to passing nasty gas and a few $$ change hands and, with the victim refusing to testify, nothing will come of the initial charges and McDonald plays every game.

  7. oldlthrneck says: Sep 3, 2014 9:36 AM

    I am glad to see that the 49ers are taking a measured and serious approach to this issue. I would hate to see the lynch mob mentality, that is shown on these comment boards to permeate the process of proper investigation and the fact finding process, prior to acting. Good job and the right approach.

  8. thraiderskin says: Sep 3, 2014 9:36 AM

    Are they suppose to punish the allegation or the crime? I guess I’m not sure what the big deal is here. On one hand you have a bunch of Lancelots wanting to show how progressive they are, but on the other hand, you have to respect due process. You can’t ignore an individual’s rights just because of a “hot” button issue.

  9. gargamelsmentor says: Sep 3, 2014 9:37 AM

    If he is found guilty and then Harbaugh doesn’t cut him, then he loses all credibility. He would need to modify his original statement to, “if you put your hands on a woman, it will not be tolerated….unless you are a star player”.

  10. nyyjetsknicks says: Sep 3, 2014 9:38 AM

    I was under the assumption this way common sense…

  11. jimmyt says: Sep 3, 2014 9:38 AM

    This is just starting. Believe it or not some of these NFL players (and their spouses) live in an entirely different culture than most would consider normal. Roger has really opened up a can of worms trying to save face over the Rice debacle (which in reality was nothing more than one such young couple in a drunken fight where both were guilty but not at all mad at each other after). There is going to be a whole lot of she-said he-said going on every time one of these lovely couples get into a fight and it happens a lot more that some would think because in some urban cultures it is quite normal.

  12. KIR says: Sep 3, 2014 9:39 AM

    Are we a country that believes in guilty until proven innocent or innocent until proven guilty? Thank God for due process. Remember, they use to burn witches. Gossip Social Media is nothing more than history repeating itself.

  13. eagleswin says: Sep 3, 2014 9:41 AM

    The 49ers would rather wait until the offseason to cut him. Talk is cheap, ask any politician. They’ll promise you the world but never seem to deliver much.

    The police and team have a pretty good idea what happened at this point.

    It’s been 4 days. It happened at his house with his teammates present. Other than taking the statements of the girlfriend and teammates including photographs of the girlfriend plus checking to see if the girlfriend has a record, what else is there to do? Kill time until the trial?

    This is not some great mystery where they are looking for a bloody glove or a mystery hair sample.

    The man can still help them win games and that’s priority #1. Just ask the “we will punish our players by making them play football” Steelers.

    For that purpose there will be delays by the police and claims of “due process” so that the 49ers can get one final season out of him.

  14. TheDPR says: Sep 3, 2014 9:41 AM

    The government’s “justice” system has nothing to do with whether he did anything wrong or not; it’s about finding whether a person is held legally guilty. I applaud the 49ers for doing their own investigation and getting at the truth – what did he do and why did he do it? Then they should base the punishment, if any, on the facts. This could turn out to be nothing or could turn out to be bad. Either way, I wouldn’t trust the court system to figure that out.

  15. swagger52 says: Sep 3, 2014 9:44 AM

    All these macho guys that have no idea the “domestic violence” nazis. Now that women have the power to derail an entire career with domestic violence, the GOLDDIGGERS are going to come out of the woodwork.

    Innocent until proven guilty. If you want to indict before all the facts are known, you are playing right into the hands of the GOLDDIGGERS.

  16. hawktawker says: Sep 3, 2014 9:44 AM

    Translation: We won’t be doing anything until our other suspended/injured defensive players are back in the fold!!

  17. smithdp says: Sep 3, 2014 9:45 AM

    Jim Harbaughs forceful comments against abuse of women were interesting. Not only was he putting his GM hat on (oops the 49ers already have a GM many think he doesn’t get along with), it also may have been a direct shot at the Ravens and his brother who beat him in the Super Bowl, over the Ray Rice episode. Yes, and I’m sure he is opposed to the abuse of women, but still, very interesting.

  18. melikefootball says: Sep 3, 2014 9:45 AM

    Hairbaugh should learn to keep his mouth shut he MAY come out a loser here.

  19. mkelly534 says: Sep 3, 2014 9:46 AM

    I am going to reserve judgment until we know more. I think it is reasonable to wait until official charges are brought so they can see if it actually occured the way it was reported but if it turns out he really did batter a pregnant woman the team will forced to really hammer him. We shall see

  20. raiderrob21 says: Sep 3, 2014 9:46 AM

    He was ARRESTED, at 3:30 AM. Im pretty sure he and his teammates that were there were there were only watching game film and preparing for practice. Im sure no drugs or alcohol were involved.

  21. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Sep 3, 2014 9:46 AM

    The fact that the Niners say they would cut him but will wait for due process indicates to me that they already know he won’t be facing serious charges.

  22. danind says: Sep 3, 2014 9:47 AM

    Waiting for the 49ers to applaud this guy and tell us how he is such a great guy. maybe the fans will give him a standing ovation in the first game too?? smh

  23. swagger52 says: Sep 3, 2014 9:47 AM

    Every judge in America is worked over…just like Roger Goodell was worked over…If you don’t indict, make women look like harmless victims, come down hard without knowing the facts…we will make your life miserable.

    Get used to it…Roger G opened up Pandora’s box with the Ray Rice apology.

    It will likely sink into your head when your star player has a domestic violence charge right before the playoffs.

  24. thebirdofprey2 says: Sep 3, 2014 9:55 AM

    This is the same team that let Al. Smith play right after he passed out drunk slamming into a pole in the AM drunk and high off pills.

    San Quintin 49ers leading the NFL in arrests 3 years and counting…SHM

  25. bubbybrisket says: Sep 3, 2014 9:58 AM

    He gone

  26. bkostela says: Sep 3, 2014 10:01 AM

    Baalke Bartokomous

  27. guyljr says: Sep 3, 2014 10:06 AM

    Two problems with the new rules. Crazy girlfriends may be inclined to make accusations out of vengence… Wives may be more inclined to say nothing because they want that paycheck to keep coming in.

  28. flexx91 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:06 AM

    Due process is one thing but McDonald knows whether or not he put his hands on this woman. That should be the determining factor on what happens in the short-term. In the long-term, if he claims he did not assault her and it’s later proven that he did, then the punishment should be more severe. There are a lot of women who use the “domestic violence against women” card to their advantage just to make a man’s life a living hell but if he can honestly look his coach in the eyes and tell him he never laid a hand on this woman, then he should be allowed to play until due process runs its course.

  29. largent80 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:07 AM

    I’m a Seahawks fan, but for now I’m with the Niners on this one. Find out what happened first. If what happened does not jibe with team principles, then cut him or trade him. Harbaugh’s already on record about how he views violence against women. Of course, one’s principles are pretty meaningless until they are tested.

    However, there’s a difference between ‘finding out what happened’ and ‘due process’. Arguing for due process is simply relying on the slow movement of the courts, plus the possibility of a settlement that brings this down to a civil charge from a criminal one, to allow McDonald to keep playing even if what the team discovers is that McDonald committed a heinous act of violence.

  30. jvibottomline says: Sep 3, 2014 10:09 AM

    The players association really needs to take a stance against the league and these punishments for non-PED activities. Let the courts decide the punishment for these individuals just like everyone else. It’s not a “privilege” to play in the NFL, it’s a job just like everywhere else. These guys continue to get taken to the cleaners because of a weak union. Play baseball kids, guaranteed HUGE contracts, less injury risk, and IRON strong player union representation. The NFL is modern day slavery.

  31. bigperm33 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:10 AM

    Here is what the league can do – when someone is arrested, instead of waiting for the criminal process to run its course, which 1) can take forever, and 2) can be manipulated to occur out of season, the league can have a meeting with a player who has been arrested, and ask the player what happened. the player can be under no obligation to answer any questions, however, the NFL can be allowed to factor in a non-response as an admission of guilt if it wants.

  32. harrisonhits2 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:13 AM

    So in other words if he buys off the woman or works a plea deal to a much lesser charge the 9ers will ignore this and the whole thing about cutting someone who engages in domestic violence is just a lie and a smokescreen.

  33. huskie67 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:17 AM

    What a cop-out. Employers get rid of employees all the time for misconduct without a court decision. You do an investigation and if there is cause you remove the offending employee. Probably the things that matters most is what his contract says and what leverage the CBA has. This is typical Whiner PR posturing so they can play the dude.

  34. fordmandalay says: Sep 3, 2014 10:28 AM

    Hey they might be able to get a full season out of McDonald before the process goes through, and what’s more important than that, right Coach Harbaugh?

  35. jcthree3303 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:36 AM

    What I find very interesting is why do the Niners always get to punish their own players. The league office punish guys without letting due process play out all the time but in this case and Aldon Smith last year they got to dole out punishment without involving the league office. He was sent to rehab for 5 games and the league stayed out of it. Just odd how they keep allowing them to give out their own punishments.

  36. cdschultz says: Sep 3, 2014 10:36 AM

    “Above reproach…” Buhahhahahhahhahahahah

  37. theparadoxx82 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:37 AM

    So yesterday was the “Please the PC crowd” meaningless statement and today is the “Please the NFLPA” meaningless statement.

  38. flexx91 says: Sep 3, 2014 10:38 AM

    Not true. Misconduct is one thing but it has to proven or at least, there has to be physical evidence (as in the case of Ray Rice) for a company to dismiss or suspend an employee without any legal action taken by the dismissed or suspended employee. No one knows what happened in McDonald’s home but he and his girlfriend. He may in fact, be innocent and it would be a shame for him to take a financial loss if in fact he is.

  39. 1rockyracoon says: Sep 3, 2014 10:59 AM

    It’s time for the league to punish teams who have multiple players making choices which lead to their involvement with the legal system (pleading guilty or no contest,plea bargaining, or reaching a cash settlement).

  40. jimthebuilder27 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:05 AM

    Hahahaha! Gotta love the Santa Clara 49ers, been a pretty disastrous offseason!

    #abovereproach

  41. eastcoastniner says: Sep 3, 2014 11:11 AM

    Typical Seahak overreaction to any news about the Niners.

  42. getadealdonealready says: Sep 3, 2014 11:14 AM

    Not a surprise they signed the good for nothing waste of space woman beater Chris Cook in the off-season, they seem to like women beaters on their D!

  43. bert1913 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:14 AM

    where’s there smoke, there’s fire

  44. The Steelers are embarking on The March®. The league trembles. Goodell and his goons will stop at nothing to halt our 7th and final Super Bowl victory. They will fail. SFL 2015 is God's will. We must restore the game we invented. March® with us. #7 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:15 AM

    Unless he serves jail time, the 49ers will embrace him.

  45. RegisHawk says: Sep 3, 2014 11:18 AM

    Actually it was a party for his birthday and lots of teammates were there. So more than he and his girlfriend. Funny, though, you don’t see any of them coming out to say he’s innocent…

  46. bolts0621 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:28 AM

    How convenient. He admits to hitting his pregnant girlfriend BUT he has a good reason for doing it.

    Lets drag this out to the offseason so he doesn’t miss any games Nice!

  47. rl7911 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:42 AM

    The 49ers are a complete classless organization.

  48. swagger52 says: Sep 3, 2014 11:57 AM

    You thought legal issues around concussion could take down the game as we know it?

    That is nothing compared to the Golddiggers armed with lawyers. They did not have enough leverage before for a payday. Roger with his Ray Rice apology and first and second offense gave them LOTS of leverage.

    I pity the NFL Players that get accused before the Playoffs…Pay off or I go public.

    Did you know…Women show up at Courthouse with no bruises, no evidence..You are removed from house for 7 days…no questions asked. If Abuse is a lie..guess what…no penalty.

    Just wait, it is coming.

  49. dalcow4 says: Sep 3, 2014 12:42 PM

    It’s shaping up to be a weird season for the Niners.

    All kinds of law trouble, holdouts, the offense looks terrible, Kap has regressed, the defense is nowhere near as stout as it was two years ago.

    Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the league– we’ll see what he does with this mess.

  50. swagger52 says: Sep 3, 2014 1:08 PM

    Women that lie about spouse abuse hide behind the “just assume they are innocent and they guy is guilty”.

    Why do they lie?
    Because they can benefit tremendously from a money perspective. Lawyers will work for free to go after money.

    What happens if the woman gets caught making bogus claims about abuse?
    Absolutely NOTHING.

    What happens if it is the woman’s fault or they started it?
    Absolutely NOTHING. They won’t go to jail. They won’t be suspended without pay. Like most of the posters, if you are going to just assume the guy is guilty, then that is the perfect scenario. The WOMAN can’t lose.

    Does anybody see a problem here? If not, you need to spend more time in Civil Courts in America.

  51. poridge1214 says: Sep 3, 2014 1:39 PM

    Letting the legal process play out doesn’t mean a damn thing. The legal process played out for Ray Rice, to the tune of no conviction, pre-trial intervention, and a clean slate. All of that with video evidence of him punching his fiance out, and dragging her body.

  52. topgun1019 says: Sep 3, 2014 1:57 PM

    As a 49′ers fan, I believe the team should cut McDonald if the investigation finds that he beat his woman. This should happen as expeditiously as possible. Say, right after the team’s Super Bowl XLIX Victory Parade!!!!!

  53. eaglesfan290 says: Sep 3, 2014 2:07 PM

    Teams tend to “TAKE A STAND” a lot more when the player is a scrub, and when they haven’t lost Navorro Bowman, Ian Williams, and Aldon Smith.

  54. h0nkeyshavenolips says: Sep 3, 2014 2:24 PM

    if a female spits on you and punches you = acceptable

    if a sister in law spits on you and kicks you in an elevator = acceptable

    if a guy retaliates = the end of the world.

    please grow some balls and hold women accountable. it’s ridiculous that they never have to answer to their actions

  55. postman231 says: Sep 3, 2014 2:41 PM

    And how many games should Kaepernick be suspended for after that Miami hotel fiasco?

  56. bobsnygiants says: Sep 3, 2014 2:57 PM

    Here we go again , bench him . stand your ground

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