Jim Harbaugh has today reiterated his no-tolerance stance regarding domestic abuse, confirming that he will no allow anyone found guilty of such acts to take a place on his San Francisco 49ers roster.
Harbaugh's comments come in the wake of news that 49ers key defenseman Ray McDonald was arrested over the weekend - booked on a domestic violence felony with the victim alleged to be that of the player's pregnant fiancee.
Harbaugh takes a stand
"I'll make it very clear," CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco reports Harbaugh as saying.
"You ask me how I feel about domestic violence. I can be very clear about that. 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."
Harbaugh, now in his fourth year in charge in San Francisco, was also asked as to whether any player convicted of such an act would be removed from the 49ers roster. His response was as admirable as it was precise:
"Yes, we would not. We can be very clear."
The San Francisco 49ers entered the preseason having put together one of the most feared defenses in the league. But with the 2014 NFL season just two days away from its curtain-raiser the NFC West franchise are on the verge of a defensive collapse following several off-field decisions.
As well as the legal issues hanging over the head of McDonald (a man who finished second on the team for sacks in 2013), the 49ers know they will be without star defensive end Aldon Smith for the first nine games of the season after the latter was suspended last week for a number of misdemeanours.
Add to that the injury to NaVorro Bowman which will rule the linebacker out for six weeks and you can see the problems adding up for the 49ers.
Whilst they remain a solid pick for many in fantasy leagues up and down the country the fact that three of their most imposing, disruptive forces on the defensive side of the ball could be out simultaneously must be worrying for Harbaugh.
We will not know the true ramifications of McDonald's weekend arrest until the legal process has run its course. And with the player contesting his innocence in the matter Harbaugh insisted that no action would be taken until all the facts had been established:
"There are going to be two principles at play here,” Harbaugh said.
“And one is, I’ll speak for myself, I’ll speak for the 49ers: We’ll not tolerate domestic violence. The second principle, we’re firm believers in due process. And I ask for your understanding on those two principles.”
As such Ray McDonald is continuing to practice with the San Francisco 49ers at present.
McDonald's arrest however comes just days after the NFL released new guidelines regarding sanctions for players found guilty of domestic violence. If found guilty, McDonald faces tough sanctions therefore both from the league and his current employer.
With increased penalties outlined in light of Ray Rice's two-game suspension it is also interesting to see the contrast between Jim Harbaugh's stance on the issue in contrast to his brother John in Baltimore who was at pains to offer support to Rice earlier this summer.