The NFL took a much better stand against domestic violence after coming up way short on the Ray Rice suspension and drawing the public’s ire in the process, so they created a new system where the first offense leads to a six-game suspension and the second offense leads to a lifetime ban, though players can file for reinstatement to get out of the ban. These are steep punishments, but they were met with support by most fans, who are still incredibly upset with Rice’s escape from a severe suspension.
We may have a first offender of this new policy already, as NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo reports that San Francisco 49ers standout defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence. Details are scant and unclear at this moment, but it’s definitely a situation to keep an eye on given the severity of the charge, the severity of the punishment, McDonald’s ability, the fact that the 49ers are already missing Aldon Smith on a nine-game suspension, and the proximity of this suspension to the new rules for punishing domestic violence.
Since we’re just a week away from the start of the regular season, McDonald will likely serve his suspension next year, as it could take time to gather the details. That’s all speculation at this point, because what we do know is that he is a key to this 49ers defense as a disruptive interior pass rusher and stout run defender at the 3-4 DE spot opposite of Justin Smith. As always, it’s important to wait and let the legal process play out.
Update: Trujillo also reports that McDonald’s victim was pregnant, so this could end up being a huge offense and one that will need a sledgehammer from Roger Goodell.