McDonald Not 1st NFL Embarrassment & Not Last Unless League Changes


Ray McDonald is not special.

The former San Francisco 49ers and (very briefly) Chicago Bears defensive lineman is not a unique case for the NFL. His arrest for alleged domestic violence and child endangerment was not noteworthy because of it’s extraordinary nature, but because of it’s almost ridged adherence to what many of us have come to expect not only from the league, but especially from McDonald himself.

Honestly, what could any of us have expected?

This is McDonald’s fifth arrest in five years for a variety of offenses. The most recent arrest included a 911 call that featured McDonald breaking through a door and attempting to take an infant. This, the same infant that was in utero when McDonald allegedly abused this same woman the last time. Charges in that case were dropped when the alleged victim refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Let’s pause here…

It is easy—so easy–for people to lean on a 3rd grade understanding of the facts here as they proclaim McDonald’s innocence. Yes, first and foremost, we live in a country with an incredible justice system that demands the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. We rely on this justice system with that presumption of innocence in every walk of life. It is the American way as much as hot dogs, apple pie and the flyover on Sunday afternoons.

That doesn’t mean McDonald didn’t do anything wrong.

Domestic abuse isn’t a simple situation, and those who endure it are simultaneously far stronger and more fragile than outsiders could even understand. Abuse victims “stay” for a variety of reasons that may never make sense to those of us who haven’t been victims, but that doesn’t mean they’re not compelling or real reasons—or that we should blame the victim because she didn’t do what we foolhardily believe we would do in the same situation.

Those reasons run a wide range between extremely base and very real emotions like fear of being abused further for leaving, a misunderstanding of what love is, hope for change, dependance because of financial situations or simply despondence or helplessness.

Other abuse victims leave, and that’s their experience.

Frankly, it’s nor our job from the outside looking in to judge, qualify or even assign value to those reasons in any way, shape or form. In an abuse situation, the only person to blame is the abuser. The only person at fault is the abuser. Society, context, upbringing, socioeconomic factors and the like may need to be examined at a wider scale for many reasons, but none of if—especially the actions of the victim—does anything to excuse an abuser.

Legally, McDonald is still an innocent man…just as Greg Hardy is after his first case (where he was found guilty by a judge) was thrown out and the jury trial could not proceed because the victim in that case refused to cooperate with the second trial. Legally is one standard, but do we really need that high standard to tell whether or not this guy is a slimeball?

When the arresting officers picked up McDonald this last time, it’s not like the door may or may not have been broken. It’s not like the ex-fiancee may or may not have been assaulted. It’s also not like there were a whole lot of other people in the house. Connect the dots…

Five arrests, five years.

When the Bears picked up McDonald, he was on the tail-end of four arrests in four years—including two back-to-back. In addition to the aforementioned domestic violence arrests, McDonald was also arrested upon suspicion of sexual assault in December of 2014. That was only a few months after the last arrest and even less time passed before the Bears signed him.

What idiots.

What reckless, stupid, insensitive, inept, terrible, inhuman idiots.

This is what happens when the NFL’s standard of guilt isn’t even “innocent until proven guilty.” It’s “innocent if you can help us win football games.” That’s what the NFL cares about. That’s the NFL’s bottom line. If some owner or general manager heard a convicted mass murderer ran a 4.25 40, don’t think they wouldn’t start having that discussion. It’s a business, and businesses may worry about P.R. or optics (the NFL more than most!) but the business of the NFL is still football making money, and business is good because they’re willing to crack those few eggs to make the proverbial omelet.

Don’t judge the result. Judge the process.

The Bears are not idiots because McDonald allegedly committed another crime. No, they’re idiots because they set themselves up for this and they’re trying to play the patsy afterward. They made this mess, and not they’re trying to pretend that they’re not culpable in any way—sold a bill of goods by a dastardly young man who had the audacity to pay for his own plane ticket out to see them.

When McDonald was “vetted” by the Bears (using that term so loosely it no longer has any meaning), they talked to McDonald himself, and McDonald’s parents. They declined talking to any victim or representation, claiming (wait for it…) that any alleged victim would be biased and such an interview wouldn’t have any prohibitive value.

Go, read that paragraph again…If you’re not forced to pick up the remains of your laptop or mobile device up at the base of the wall you threw it at, you’re not quite grasping the asinine ludicrousness of an NFL that is apparently run by what can only be described of in the most scatalogical of terms.

Seriously, these freaking guys.

It’s not just the Bears, though.

Again, don’t just judge the result that led the Bears to this end. The same ridiculous process of interviewing the alleged abuser and not concerning themselves in any way with the alleged victim is identical to what the Seattle Seahawks did when they drafted Frank Clark. It’s also what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did when they drafted Jameis Winston. It’s what the Dallas Cowboys did when they signed Hardy. It’s even close to how the commissioner, Roger Goodell, proceeded in the Ray Rice situation, when he talked to the victim…but with the abuser in the room!

That isn’t due diligence. It’s finding the exact answer you’re looking for.

The results, then, is simply the NFL getting what’s coming to them.

How many more victims will be left in their wake?

About Michael Schottey

Michael Schottey

Michael Schottey has been covering football in various capacities for a decade and his work can be found in numerous outlets around the globe, primarily Bleacher Report where he is and NFL National Lead Writer. Schottey has appeared regularly on CNN, Headline News, Al Jazeera America, Sirius/XM and countless other national and local radio spots.