Only four days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the new stricter guidelines and policy regarding penalties to be levied against league players found guilty of domestic violence or sexual assault, Ray McDonald, the 29-year-old defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested in San Jose, California, on Aug. 31 on felony domestic violence charges, according to Bloomberg News. The new NFL domestic violence policy was unveiled on Aug. 28.
Police arrested McDonald after responding to a call for help at 2:48 a.m. in San Jose. The former player for the University of Florida was released after posting bail later in the day on Sunday afternoon, according to Sergeant Heather Randol of the San Jose Police Department.
Trent Baalke, 49ers’ General Manager released a statement saying that his organization was aware of the allegations against McDonald, his arrest, “and we take such matters seriously.” Baalke went on to say that that the 49ers would reserve any further comment until additional information is released regarding the case against McDonald.
McDonald’s arrest comes two days after the NFL banned another 49ers defensive end, Aldon Smith, for the first nine games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies. Smith pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.
Reporters flocked around the 6-foot-4, 276-pound lineman as he left the Santa Clara County Jail on Sunday afternoon. He didn’t share much about what went down in the early morning hours prior to his arrest, but did make a quick statement.
"I can't say too much, not right now, but the truth will come out. Everybody knows the kind of person that I am," McDonald said.
"I'm a good-hearted person." ~ ESPN
Only minimal details surrounding McDonald’s arrest are known right now. Reportedly though, an altercation occurred at his house late Saturday night that stretched into Sunday morning. When police arrived at the house, they witnessed “seeing McDonald's pregnant fiancée with ‘minor bruises’ on her arms and neck." Police arrested the lineman without incident, according to Yahoo! News.
The new and more severe NFL policy on domestic violence came in the wake of Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice being penalized by the NFL with a very light two game suspension after a viral video showed him dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino elevator last February. Outrage and sharp criticism came fast and furiously against Roger Goodell’s cursory punishment of Rice.
Acknowledging that he "didn't get it right" regarding the Rice penalty, the NFL’s newly announced tougher guidelines will result in a six weeks’ unpaid suspension for a player’s first domestic violence offense and at least a one year suspension for a second domestic violence offense. That second domestic violence offense could also result in a lifetime ban from the league, according to CNN. Players would be able to petition the NFL for reinstatement after the first year of their ban in the case of second offenses.
In a memo sent out to all 32 team owners on Thursday, Goodell said that the new policy would take place immediately and that owners must share the new policy with players. The commissioner wrote that the new policy should be posted in all NFL locker rooms.
A section of his memo to the owners read: "Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances."