Ray McDonald Could Be NFL’s First Domestic Violence Penalty Offender

Ray McDonald gon' learn today. In case it wasn't made abundantly clear to NFL players that domestic violence was now second to betting on NFL games in the league's list of inexcusable offenses, the 49ers defensive end is about to become the first player punishable under the stringent anti-domestic violence penalties passed this week. 

On early Sunday morning, McDonald who weighs in at 290 pounds and tops out at 6-3 was arrested for felony domestic violence in San Jose.

McDonald's arrest could result in even more drastic punishment than the six-game punishment for first-time offenders because the victim is his pregnant spouse. 

Of course, Jim Harbaugh could be harsher on McDonald than the league can, according to comments made two years ago by former safety Donte Whitner. 

“He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he’ll forgive us except put our hands on women.  If you put your hand on a woman then you’re done in his book.”

Roger Goodell's edict against domestic violence was the talk of the NFL for days and yet, here are before September. It doesn't make sense, but some things aren't meant to be understood. Murder is a punishable by life in prison and that didn't prevent Aaron Hernandez from risking millions to execute three different people, including a friend. Rationale doesn't apply to the decision-making process for some individuals.

No matter what happens, Goodell's crusade against domestic violence in the league has succeeded in terms of bringing attention to the issue and shaming abusers like never before which has to be worth something.

However, McDonald won't be suspended by the league until he is given his due process. If there's any reason not to jump to conclusions, Harbaugh can look to his own running back depth chart. Just last year, Urban Meyer–who also coached McDonald (and Hernandez) at Florida dismissed then-little known running back Carlos Hyde from the team after he was arrested on assault charges. Accused of striking the woman, Hyde was suspended until evidence emerged that appeared to vindicate Hyde.

On the flipside of Hyde is tailback Lamichael James, who was sentenced four years ago while he was at Oregon, following a domestic violence incident that involved him grabbing his girlfriend by the neck and shoving her to the ground.

Yet, even when more information emerges in McDonalds' case, Goodell cannot discipline the Niners lineman until the case is adjudicated. 

However, the fact that McDonalds is being charged as a felony does not bode wel for him.In the meantime, the Niners have issued a statement pertaining to McDonalds' arrest.

“The 49ers organization is aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously. As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Sunday.