The San Francisco 49ers will likely be without another defensive starter for the majority of the season after DE Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of felony domestic violence charges.
The incident was reported to police around 2:45 a.m. on Bentley Ridge Drive in San Jose, the same street where linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested on in September for a DUI.
McDonald was booked into Santa Clara County Jail later with a $25,000 bail being set.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the altercation took place in the 29-year old’s home, where a birthday party was being held for McDonald. McDonald’s 30th birthday is Tuesday.
After his fiancee showed police bruises on her neck and arm, police arrested the linemen without incident, the Bee reported. Members of the 49ers were present at the party.
In a statement released on Sunday, Trent Baalke acknowledged the unfolding situation:
“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.”
McDonald’s arrest comes mere days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell outlined his plan for stricter penalties for violation of the league’s Personal Conduct Policy.
Under Goodell’s revised rules, a minimum six-game ban will be instituted for first time offenders. McDonald, though, may be subjected to an extended suspension due to his history and details surrounding his current arrest.
The Bee reports that McDonald’s fiancee is ten weeks pregnant. McDonald also has prior arrest history after being detained in 2010 for a DUI.
In his letter outlining the league’s new policy on domestic abuse and sexual assault, Goodell said the league will give consideration towards longer suspensions due to mitigating factors, such as choking, repeated striking or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman.
Details of McDonald’s alleged abuse remain scarce, though could indicate a suspension longer than the mandatory six games.
In February, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested following the emergence of a video showing the aftermath of an alleged assault on his then-fiancee — and now-wife — in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
The NFL handed Rice a soft punishment of two games suspended without pay, prompting outrage. In the wake of the backlash, Goodell stiffened the league’s Personal Conduct Policy toward domestic violence.
In a statement released regarding his revisions, Goodell made clear that such acts of violence will not be tolerated in the NFL:
“Domestic Violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances. Our personal conduct policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will.”
McDonald was released from jail on bail Sunday afternoon. He will appear in court on September 15.