49ers respond to NFL abuse reform plans

David Louie Image
ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Saturday, September 20, 2014
49ers respond to Goodell's NFL reform plans
The 49ers team reacts to the NFL reforms outlined by Commissioner Roger Goodell at a news conference Friday.

After weeks of silence, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell held a news conference in New York Friday to detail plans about how the league is going to handle a series of player arrests involving domestic violence or child abuse. Goodell took blame for the league's lack of consistency, resulting in some players being benched and others not.

The 49ers are heading into a game Sunday againts the Cardinals in which teams are making their own decisions to play or bench players involved in brushes with the law. Niners defensive lineman Ray McDonald is in, while Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer is out.

"We do not have a clear and consistent policy that allows us to deal with all the different issues that are arising," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

After practice, 49ers safety Eric Reid acknowledged it would be good for players be treated the same.

"I do see a little bit of inconsistency. I do think the league needs a policy set in stone. I mean it's good for our culture. Domestic violence is a thing that shouldn't have to be talked about at all," said Reid.

"There will be an opportunity for good to come, for more awareness, for mind-searching and policy," said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Niner offensive lineman Jonathan Martin is no stranger to abuse. He had accused a teammate of bullying when he was playing for the Miami Dolphins. Martin is glad to see the NFL stepping up.

"They're going to do a good job of taking care of the players and living up to general societal standards," said Martin.

San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Tim Kawakami doesn't think Goodell's actions will have any impact on the Ray McDonald situation. He has been critical of the 49ers front office.

"Their own game is that they like Ray McDonald a lot as a football player, and they're going to play him, and I have a problem with that myself. They're saying a football game is more important than their own morality," said Kawakami.

The team's sponsors have been silent, too. Levi Strauss, which is paying $220 million for stadium naming rights, says it's an employer-employee matter. Toyota expressed similar remarks, and Intel said there have been no discussions with the 49ers.