The 49ers have an unwanted distraction for Sunday’s game, involving one of their best players, as receiver Michael Crabtree faces allegations of sexual assault. And their immediate goal is to ensure that it won’t be.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the 49ers “highly, highly doubt” that Crabtree will be charged with a crime.
Per Schefter, another witness (a female) corroborated Crabtree’s version of the events to police. Moreover, Crabtree cooperated with authorities, submitting to a two-hour interview.
We don’t doubt that Schefter is accurately reported that the 49ers “highly, highly doubt” that Crabtree will be charged. But it’s always dangerous to predict with any degree certainty the actual contents of a police investigation or the manner in which a district attorney assessing the evidence will exercise the very broad discretion inherent to the question of who will and who won’t be prosecuted.
The fact that another witness corroborates Crabtree doesn’t mean Crabtree’s version is airtight. The other witness could be a very bad witness. Likewise, Crabtree could have made a very unconvincing case during his interview. There could be physical evidence that renders the witness testimony less relevant.
At this point, we don’t know — and no one outside of law enforcement knows, either.
For now, though, it’s important for the 49ers to be confident and optimistic because that’s the best way to ensure it won’t be a distraction for Crabtree on Sunday. Really, that’s all the team cares about right now: Ensuring that they will get maximum performance from Crabtree on Sunday.
If he eventually is arrested or charged, they’ll worry about that at the time. For now, with no chance of Crabtree being arrested in Georgia for something that allegedly happened in San Francisco, the smart approach by the team is to act like it’s a non-issue — in the hopes that Crabtree will do the same.