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Harbaugh on McDonald: In America you're innocent until proven guilty

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Ray McDonald says 'the truth will come out.' (USATSI)
Ray McDonald says 'the truth will come out.' (USATSI)

Over the weekend, days after the NFL announced new, stricter sanctions for domestic violence, 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested and charged with ... felony domestic violence.

McDonald, upon his release from jail, said "the truth will come out," but 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who can put up with a lot (see Aldon Smith), has stated that "We'll not tolerate domestic violence." Harbaugh has also said that, "We're firm believers in is due process."

(It's unclear if the league also believes in due process; the latest edict from commissioner Roger Goodell regarding domestic violence didn't specify when the punishments would be administered.)

On Wednesday, Harbaugh reiterated that McDonald has yet to be convicted of a crime.

“We all live in America, we all understand that sometimes patience is required when it comes to due process,” Harbaugh said, via the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows. “But I think we all owe that to everybody that's involved. There's a respect for due process in my opinion.

But "due process" is a legal term, one that doesn't affect a team's -- or the league's -- ability to discipline a player.

Harbaugh's response: “This is America. You're innocent until you're proven guilty. I don't know what more I can say about that. I have great respect for that principle."

The 49ers are currently without NaVorro Bowman, who could miss two months recovering from ACL surgery, and Aldon Smith, who will be sidelined for nine games for violating both the substance-abuse policy and the personal conduct policy. If the team also loses McDonald, the defense will be without three of its best players. In a division like the NFC East, such a development doesn't automatically doom a season. In the NFC West, however, that's exactly what it does.

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