Bears Let Ray McDonald Go
Bears Release Ray McDonald After Domestic Violence Arrest
Ray Rice, now Ray McDonald and he’s out. But truth be told, anyone who followed the McDonald story could have seen this coming. If these team leaders cared about these troubled men, saw them as an investment then they should require them to seek therapy to help them adjust and redirect their rage. Too many of these Black athletes have anger issues and it’s not handled properly.
The defensive end was booked on suspicion of felony domestic violence after an incident with his fiancée last summer, while he was with the San Francisco 49ers. No charges were filed after the alleged victim refused to cooperate. When will these brothers realize that they are not “Big Ben” Roethlisberger, who has faced two rape allegations in the past several years. He was brought up on charges and settled out of court. He was slapped on the wrist and given a four weeks suspension, which was actually shortened.
The Forty-Niners stood by McDonald initially. But when he became a suspect in a sexual assault investigation, they cut him loose, citing his “pattern of poor decision-making.”
We can’t say that there isn’t truth in that. “Poor decision making,” is certainly one way of putting it.
We can’t get mad with the Chicago Bears who took a huge chance on signing defensive end Ray McDonald after a history of domestic abuse accusations and arrests, when Monday their gamble didn’t pay off. So the team released McDonald.
However Ray McDonald isn’t the only one who needs to pay a price for his latest domestic abuse arrest.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ought to fine the Chicago Bears and dock them a draft pick or two. Suspend general manager Ryan Pace for four games. Ban owner George McCaskeyfrom the stadium for the first half of the season while he’s at it, too, since it was McCaskey’s enlightened decision to blow off the alleged victim when he gave the OK to sign McDonald.
It’s not enough to simply punish the players who inflict the abuse on women and children. If the NFL wants the good work it’s done over the last year to combat domestic violence to actually mean something, it has to go after the owners and GMs who have long enabled them. And again just like other employers, provide the opportunity for treatment.
“We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear,” Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. “He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him.”
So in Ray McDonald’s case, he was given several opportunities to change his behavior but no tools. Abusive behavior is an illness and needs to be treated just like an addiction.
Unfortunately McDonald, who played for the San Francisco 49’ers under Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, was released by the team last season after he was arrested for assault in California.
Over time the charges were dropped because of insufficient evidence. That was one of several situations involving the law that McDonald has had over the past few years. He was accused of sexual assault last year. He was also arrested for DUI and charged with failing to appear in court on the charges. So there was evidence of personal issues that needed managing.
On Memorial Day McDonald was taken into custody at 7 a.m. on suspicion of domestic violence and child endangerment in Santa Clara California.
Police say the assault happened at his home in Santa Clara. He was found about three hours later at a home in San Jose and arrested. It was not disclosed as to whether the woman or the baby were injured.
The Chicago Bears released a statement Monday afternoon about the decision to let McDonald go. Chicago signed McDonald to a one-year contract in late March knowing it was a gamble given his history of legal issues.
Chairman George McCaskey even acknowledged at the time that he initially told Pace not to go after him. But McCaskey came away impressed from a face-to-face conversation that he described as “very candid, very forthright” and “difficult” after McDonald paid his way to Chicago.
McCaskey talked to McDonald’s parents but didn’t talk to any lawyers involved in McDonald’s cases or the accusers.
He cited a league investigation and said: “An alleged victim I think much like anybody else who has a bias in a situation there’s a certain amount of discounting what they have to say. But our personnel department had done its work looking into his background and the incidents and we had the benefit of two coaches who had been with him with the 49ers.”
“I spoke with Vic Fangio and came away very impressed with what Vic had to say about him, that he’s well-liked by his teammates, by his coaches, his strong work ethic. That he’s considered a leader on the field and speaking to Vic and Ray especially I was convinced that he’s sufficiently motivated to make this work.”
In December, the San Francisco 49ers released the 30-year-old, citing a “pattern of poor decision-making.”
In letting him go late in the season, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said, “Ray’s demonstrated a pattern of poor decision-making that has led to multiple distractions to this organization and this football team that really can no longer be tolerated.”
His release from San Francisco came just a month after the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office announced it had declined to file charges against McDonald in a separate domestic violence investigation stemming from an arrest on Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday at his Northern California home.
Prosecutors cited conflicting versions of what happened, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a lack of cooperation by the alleged victim, McDonald’s fiancee, in explaining their decision not to pursue charges in the domestic violence investigation
But McDonald’s trouble continued.
In March, McDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who had accused him of rape. McDonald says security camera footage will show a consensual sexual encounter occurred in his hot tub. Police say the woman doesn’t recall any sexual encounters and reported blacking out after drinking alcohol and falling at McDonald’s home. She said she went to police after waking up naked next to McDonald. The Santa Clara County district attorney is considering whether to file criminal charges.
McDonald had been signed by the 49ers through the 2015 season. He had three sacks in 14 games last year and had 19 1/2 sacks in eight seasons with the 49ers.