The end-game in the Ray McDonald saga is now upon us -– the legal game.
McDonald was indicted for rape of an intoxicated person, and former 49er teammate Ahmad Brooks was charged for misdemeanor sexual battery in the now-infamous party that resulted in McDonald losing his jobs with the 49ers and Chicago Bears, and is now not even a football story at all.
Oh, Brooks is still a 49er, of course, which means there will be another feverish debate about what did they give a damn about and when did they allegedly give it. We know that Jed York and Trent Baalke use the NFL’s preferred plan of picking and choosing the discipline depending on the value of the employee, but their absurd misjudgments on McDonald have dogged them throughout this story.
[MAIOCCO: 49ers LB Brooks charged with sexual battery]
They have tried to have it all their own way, and for the most part they have not. They have been ridiculed from all angles for their perceived amorality, and their attempts to be both pious and pragmatic have rendered them preposterous.
But one suspects they have moved past worrying about public opprobrium and just decided that they will be cuffed around until they win lots of games. It is a cynical calculation that is probably accurate, but it makes the lean times no easier. They adversely affected Jed’s father, John The Elder, in his decade of running the team, and until Jim Tomsula assembles a winning team they are likely to affect the son as well.
But the McDonald matter is no longer truly theirs. They made their choices and calculations, and have a decision to make about Brooks. They sent him back home from Denver and will delay a decision on his future with the team until, well, until they have to do so.
They will pay the price of criticism because they already have, and they will shrug it off as the bleatings of a vengeful and ignorant media who don’t understand the grand plan. It is how they dealt with McDonald until they could no longer manage it, it is how they dealt with Aldon Smith, and there is still the Bruce Miller issue to deal with, all with the same common denominator.
In a world where is enough is enough, only they get to decide how much of enough is too much, and only they get to decide how much dissent they will heed.