San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh appeared on KNBR Tuesday morning, and it should surprise nobody that he answered several questions about Ray McDonald's situation.
Coach Harbaugh acknowledged he could not go into a lot of detail about McDonald because it is an ongoing legal matter, but he made his position very clear on the situation. He said there are two principles in play. The first is that the team will not tolerate domestic violence. The second is that the team is also a firm believer in due process. On the one hand, the team will wait for the process to conducted. On the other hand, the there is zero tolerance for someone who physically or mentally abuses a woman and/or child.
The hosts asked Coach Harbaugh about Donte Whitner's comments regarding Harbaugh's comments to the players. Harbaugh said there is no tolerance or understanding if someone commits domestic violence, and he would not want such a player on his team. It could not have been any more clear than that.
Eric Branch tweeted Monday evening that San Jose police were going to release a synopsis of the incident on Tuesday. We probably will not have every fact we need to understand the situation, but we might have a better handle on it. Either way, there is some media pressure on the 49ers to potentially deactivate McDonald for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. Coach Harbaugh did not say what the team would do, and really it's a tough situation for them.
If inactive this Sunday, McDonald would still be paid his full game check. Until more information is known, the 49ers have to balance this notion of sending some kind of statement with considering the importance of McDonald to the football team. It is easy to view that as incredibly callous, but that also likely played into the decision to play Aldon Smith a couple days after he was arrested for DUI. I'd imagine the 49ers are doing their own investigation into McDonald's arrest, and that will at least play some part in their decision about him on Sunday.
It is important to note that deactivating McDonald is not the same as suspending him. Under a suspension, they do not have to pay him. Under a deactivation, they are still paying him his base salary. It does not appear that McDonald has any roster bonuses, so he will earn full pay even if inactive.
I've included a poll just to see how people think this situation should be handled for Sunday's game. And if you really aren't sure, I've included that option because this is not a simple situation.