SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh have made it clear they have zero tolerance for domestic violence and consider defensive tackle Ray McDonald’s arrest a serious matter.
The team is gathering as much information as possible in the wake of the veteran defensive tackle’s arrest Sunday on felony domestic violence charges. Baalke said the organization would let the legal process play out before determining what is next for McDonald with the team.
Baalke said he has had lengthy conversations with McDonald since Sunday.
“This matter is being treated seriously by this organization,” Baalke said. “This is certainly something that hits home for me. I’ve got two daughters myself. Domestic violence is unacceptable, and it certainly won’t be tolerated.”
Harbaugh maintained his firm stance about the topic during his Tuesday morning radio segment on KNBR-AM, two days after McDonald was arrested during a party for his 30th birthday – which was Tuesday. Harbaugh’s first media availability of the week is Wednesday as the team prepares for its season opener Sunday at Dallas.
“You ask me how I feel about domestic violence. I can be very clear about that,” Harbaugh said on the radio. “If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding. There’s no tolerance for that.”
McDonald is out on $25,000 bail following his arrest at his San Jose home early Sunday where he was celebrating his milestone birthday with many teammates and friends.
San Jose police released few details Tuesday surrounding McDonald’s arrest, only saying that officers at the scene saw the alleged victim with “visible injuries.” McDonald’s arrest came just days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced last week tougher penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including a six-week suspension for a first offense and at least a year for a second.
The move followed scrutiny over Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s two-game penalty stemming from his arrest on an assault charge in February.
“We’ve been in contact with the league on several occasions since this incident took place,” Baalke said. “They know exactly the stance that we’re taking and the things that 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. The matter will be handled by the organization.”
Harbaugh said he didn’t know all of the details regarding McDonald and cautioned against any rush to judgment. The coach also said Tuesday that he wouldn’t allow any player who was found guilty of domestic violence on his team.
“Yes, we would not. We can be very clear (on that),” Harbaugh said. “This is a legal matter. I think we all owe, to everyone involved, the ability for due process to take place.”
An eight-year veteran, McDonald was schedule to participate in Tuesday’s team workout. If he’s held out of Sunday’s game, defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie would likely fill his spot. However, the team was left answering far more questions about its latest rash of off-field issues than the season opener Sunday at Dallas.
Harbaugh met with the team Tuesday to reiterate his zero tolerance policy on domestic violence. Baalke said he hasn’t spoken to other players who attended McDonald’s birthday party.
Tight end Vernon Davis said he was there along with many other teammates throughout the evening. Davis said he left when the police arrived.
“I didn’t see them arrest him. I tried to stay out of it. I’ll talk to Ray later. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t hear anything. So I don’t know what went on over there,” Davis said. “All I do know is Ray is a great guy, he’s awesome.”
McDonald’s arrest came two days after linebacker Aldon Smith received a nine-game suspension for violations of the NFL substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.
Asked about the 49ers having players arrested an NFL-high 10 times since 2012, Harbaugh said Tuesday that the team is doing “everything in our power to make sure there isn’t a pattern forming.”
“I as a coach, the organization, the other coaches, have made it a point and we’ll continue to make it a point of emphasis of good conduct, 100 percent of the time,” Harbaugh said. “We believe it’s personal. We believe it’s part of our responsibility.”
McCauley reported from Santa Clara, Calif.