49ers' Ray McDonald back at practice after domestic abuse arrest

Byby Tiffany Wilson KGO logo
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
49ers player back at practice after domestic abuse arrest
San Francisco 49ers player Ray McDonald was back on the practice field Tuesday, just days after he was arrested for domestic violence.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- San Francisco 49ers player Ray McDonald was back on the practice field Tuesday just days after he was arrested. He threw a birthday party at his home when San Jose police took him into custody for domestic violence on his pregnant girlfriend early Sunday morning.

On Tuesday, Niners Coach Jim Harbaugh said he wants to see the investigation play out, but also doesn't want anyone convicted of abuse on his team.

"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," he said.

Tuesday was McDonald's 30th birthday. On Saturday night he held a party at his house to celebrate, and it turned ugly. Around 3 a.m., police responded when his pregnant fiance called 911 saying McDonald was hurting her. San Jose police say they saw visible injuries.

Fellow 49ers player Vernon Davis says about half the team attended the party. Davis posted a picture of McDonald's house on Instagram, but has since taken it down.

"As far as what went on, you know, I didn't seen anything, I didn't hear anything," he said.

In the locker room Tuesday, Davis and several other teammates offered McDonald their support.

"He's a guy of good integrity, great character," Davis said.

"Everybody supports him and you know, hope for the better," another player said.

Alex Boone doesn't feel Ray McDonald's arrest will impact the team's morale or performance Sunday.

"I think that, you know, this team's strong enough to overcome everything," he said.

What happens next with McDonald falls to General Manager Trent Baalke. Aldon Smith played in a game two days after he was arrested. On Tuesday, Baalke said he hasn't decided whether McDonald will take the field against the Dallas cowboys.

"We're still in a fact finding mode, trying to get as much information as we can," Baalke said.

Just last week, the NFL commissioner sent a letter to all teams regarding tougher penalties for any player involved in domestic violence. Baalke says he's been in touch with the league.

"They're guiding us, but they're not telling us exactly how to handle this matter," he said.

Everyone will know more, if and when the district attorney takes on the case. As of Tuesday afternoon, San Jose police had not turned it over. Legal expert Steven Clark says the nation looks at this as a test case.

"People don't want to see just because he's a celebrity and an NFL player that he's going to be treated differently than someone else in the community," Clark said.

Since this is so high profile, domestic violence advocate Kathleen Krenek worries about the ripple effect.

"We also hear from women -- 'My husband's says he's going to do a Ray McDonald on me,' and I know what that means," she said.

Baalke doesn't want that reputation for his organization.

"Domestic violence is not something that will be tolerated within the 49ers organization, period," he said.

But he's waiting to pass any judgment on McDonald until knowing more.