No domestic abuse charges to be filed against NFL's McDonald

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2014 2:35 PM

By Steve Ginsburg

(Reuters) - San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not be charged with assaulting his pregnant fiancée, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

The decision ends a nearly 10-week investigation of the eight-year National Football League veteran by San Jose police detectives and prosecutors from the District Attorney's Office.

"After our thorough review of all the facts, we do not have evidence sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. McDonald committed a crime," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.

Both the 49ers and the NFL declined to suspend McDonald during the police investigation into the Aug. 31 incident, deciding to let the legal process play out. The incident occurred while McDonald was celebrating his 30th birthday at his home with teammates and friends.

"We have said from the beginning that we will consider the information available, allow the facts to lead to our decisions and respect the judicial process," the 49ers said in a statement.

"Based on the information available to us and the District Attorney’s decision not to file charges, there will be no change in Ray's status with the team."

Conflicting accounts of the incident, the lack of "verifiable" eyewitnesses and the "seemingly minor nature" of the injuries led to the decision not the file charges, Rosen said.

The NFL has come under fire in recent months over a perception that it deals too lightly with players accused of domestic violence. The league has since strengthened its policies in dealing with players accused of domestic violence, and two top players are hoping to get back on the field.

Ray Rice was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after video emerged of him punching his then-fiancée in an Atlantic City casino hotel elevator.

Former NFL Most Valuable Player Adrian Peterson pleaded no contest last week to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault for hitting his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.

The Rice case is being reviewed by an independent arbitrator, while the league is deciding whether to allow Peterson to return to the Minnesota Vikings.

(Reporting by Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Jim Loney)