SANTA CLARA (AP) — San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted Monday that public pressure will not sway his decision to play Ray McDonald during an investigation into the defensive lineman’s arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
Harbaugh said there “could be” a resolution in the case this week for McDonald, arrested at his home Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates and friends.
“I know there’s an investigation going on that’s continuing today,” Harbaugh said.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Sunday benched defensive end Greg Hardy for the team’s 24-7 win over Detroit after he was active in Week 1. Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing.
McDonald has played and started both games so far for San Francisco (1-1), which lost 28-20 to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
Harbaugh said the 49ers didn’t compare the McDonald and Hardy situations.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for McDonald’s benching before the game. This after San Francisco suspended veteran play-by-play man Ted Robinson last week for two games after he made comments on the radio about the Ray Rice case that were deemed inappropriate.
“Well, you’ve seen there’s a lot of public speculation, and people weighing in with their opinion, whether it’s a public figure or people through social media,” Harbaugh said. “Our response would be, we have two principles at play here, and one is respect for due process, and we’re not going to flinch based on public speculation.”
Harbaugh, 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke all have said publicly they will let the legal process play out before deciding to sit McDonald or making any other choices about his future with the team. They have expressed that they have zero tolerance for domestic violence.
“The facts and the information, that’s what we said from the beginning, yes,” said Harbaugh, who like Baalke has daughters.
He would not confirm an NFL Network report that the 49ers believe McDonald’s version of what happened.
“I trust the process. The reason I’m not answering is I’m not inserting myself into the process, one way or the other,” Harbaugh said. “I think that’s the right thing to do, respect the legal process, respect the due process. The authorities are at work. We’ve been pretty clear on how we’re going about this.”
The 49ers have plenty of problems on the field to deal with this week, too.
Tight end Vernon Davis injured his left ankle and was hobbling around on crutches in the locker room Sunday. He was having a scan and being examined Monday.
San Francisco must try to regroup in a hurry before Sunday’s game at first-place Arizona (2-0).
With the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks losing at San Diego, the 49ers realize they let a key chance slip away early in the season.
“Nobody feels really good about it. It’s a bad feeling when you lose the game, no matter how you lose it,” Harbaugh said. “Being ahead in the game and not finishing the game with a win leads to a very bad feeling after the game and today.”
Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, including two fourth-quarter picks by rookie Kyle Fuller — the first two of his career, and on the prime-time stage — that led to Chicago touchdowns.
After Fuller’s first pick, Kaepernick was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for “inappropriate language,” though he denied saying anything after the game. Harbaugh said he didn’t hear anything.
“Yeah, we’d like to find out about it,” Harbaugh said of a possible inquiry to the league. “I didn’t overhear that, they didn’t come back and tell me.”