Programming note: 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco will be discussing all the latest topics in his weekly chat today at 12 p.m.
San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York is standing behind the organization’s decision to take no immediate action against defensive end Ray McDonald while he remains the subject of an investigation into domestic violence.
And York believes the league’s acknowledged “bungled” handling of the Ray Rice situation should have no impact on McDonald.
“Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice,” York said Tuesday morning on the KNBR Morning Show.
“And as a society we have a sense of saying, ‘You didn’t do it right with Ray Rice right away, so you need to overdo it with Ray McDonald or whoever else it is.’ And I don’t believe that that’s the country we live in. I don’t think that’s a fair way to approach it. I think we have to better holistic approach. But I think you have to be very careful not to punish somebody that's in a different situation than the last one and apply what happened in the last one to this one.”
The Baltimore Ravens on Monday released Rice just hours after TMZ posted a video of Rice delivering a punch that knocked his then-fiance to the floor of an elevator during a February incident. The NFL, which originally suspended Rice for just two games, announced an indefinite suspension.
York said the entire organization is in “lockstep” when it comes to the handling of McDonald’s situation. McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31 on felony domestic violence charges after responding San Jose Police officers identified “visible injuries” on McDonald’s pregnant fiancé.
McDonald was released later that day on $25,000 bail. McDonald has cooperated with authorities, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Monday. He spent two hours with investigators on Thursday.
York said he stands behind the organization’s decision to allow McDonald to play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’m comfortable that my reputation is going to take shots throughout this process,” York said. “But my character is, I will not punish somebody until we see evidence that it should be done or before an entire organization, an entire legal, police investigation, shows us something.
“For me to look myself in the mirror and say ‘I’m going to punish somebody, whether it’s not playing them, cutting them or suspending them or whatever that punishment is, before you can go through an entire legal process and an entire investigation,’ that’s not who I am.”
York made his first public comments on the McDonald situation on Tuesday -- nine days after the incident. Last week, coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke addressed the situation. York said the reason he remained silent is because the organization speaks with “one voice.” He said the 49ers met to discuss its plan. He said he also had conversations with his wife, Danielle, and mother Denise DeBartolo York, the 49ers co-chair.
“I think it’s very important we do let due process take its course,” Jed York said. “I think it’s very important we don’t judge somebody before, whether charges are filed or whether anything else happens. We want to make sure everybody is afforded the right that Americans are afforded.”
York echoed what Harbaugh and Baalke stated last week: The 49ers will not tolerate a player who commits an act of domestic violence. But he made it clear the team will not punish a player without solid evidence the player committed an offense.
“Whether you sit him down or not, whether he’s guilty or not, we’ve said very clearly what our stance is on domestic violence,” York said. “We’re not changing that. I want to reiterate everything Jim and Trent have said and what the organization has said.
“I would much rather walk the line of due process – and, again, we’ve said very clearly how we feel about domestic violence. And I’d rather take shots to my reputation than to put somebody down and judge them before an entire investigation has taken place.”