The 49ers, unlike the Panthers, have refused to bow to public pressure regarding a player with pending domestic violence charges. But the pressure on the 49ers is mounting.
The media has been getting louder and louder about the team’s decision to continue to honor the age-old sports double standard that excuses are made for stars and examples are made of scrubs. The 49ers want McDonald on that field, they need McDonald on that field. So they’ve take up residence under the cover of “due process.”
The politicians are pushing the issue now, with California Lieutenant Governor and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome and his wife, Jen Seibel Newsom, calling on the 49ers to sit McDonald.
“The City and County of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area has long stood staunchly on the forefront of domestic violence awareness and prevention,” the Newsoms said. “That’s why the 49ers’ continued insistence on playing Ray McDonald during his ongoing criminal investigation is a painful affront to every victim of domestic violence and sends a troubling message to our community and especially our children that ‘zero tolerance’ are empty words, not real actions. In light of the increased public awareness of this issue in the wake of the horrific Ray Rice assault and today’s decision by the Carolina Panthers to deactivate Greg Hardy, we strongly urge the 49er organization we grew up revering to do the right thing — right now — and bench Ray McDonald, pending the outcome of his felony domestic violence investigation by San Jose law enforcement.”
McDonald presumably will continue to play, in part because the 49ers believe he did nothing wrong. At some point, the NFL will have to investigate the case and make a decision as to whether McDonald is blameless. Otherwise, the issue could linger for months.