Ray McDonald

Time to give the 49ers some credit

Ray McDonald San Francisco 49ers

Yeah, it’s probably not the headline many expected this morning. I know I’ve turned off a few fans — and probably some members of the organization — with my criticism of the San Francisco 49ers over the past several months.

I’m still not sold on the on-field product. The coaching change was handled clumsily, to put it mildly. They’ve lost nearly everyone who used to represent the team’s relative dominance, either via free agency or retirement. And Jed York continues to utter the phrase “win with class,” which does nothing other than serve as a punchline in response to 50% of all tweets and Facebook comments posted about the 49ers, York or Levi’s Stadium.

However, I’m starting to come around on the character portion of the equation. It’s been a slow process, but after seeing this …

… it’s pretty easy to point to ONE positive thing the 49ers have done since the 2014 season began.

Did it take them a little too long to cut Ray McDonald? Probably, since the 49ers’ decision to go the “due process” route kind of blew up in their faces. But it was one of many personnel decisions that indicate an organizational shift.

I’m referring mostly to recent draft picks. A shift from “get the best and meanest athletes, period” to “let’s get some good football players who won’t show up on the police blotter” has been subtle, but it definitely exists.

The 2012 draft class was historically bad from a football perspective, but I can’t look at that list and single out a bad person. Then in 2013 the 49ers traded up and drafted Eric Reid, a good safety who became the team’s player rep at a very young age. Nothing even close to a character concern exists with Reid, and the rest of that class — while unproven — has done nothing to embarrass the team away from the field.

The only question mark from the 2014 draft came with the selection of Aaron Lynch in the fifth round. But the red flags over his transfer from Notre Dame to South Florida, fluctuations in weight and his prescribed use of Adderall weren’t serious, and Lynch has panned out quite nicely.

The most recent draft told us a few things. The 49ers knew full well that they would need to replace Justin Smith ASAP, so they drafted Arik Armstead. Trent Baalke still loves ACL guys (DeAndre Smelter, in this case). And every player sounded like first class (sorry to use that word again) person in his post-draft conference call. No Dorial Green-Beckham, no Marcus Peters, no Frank Clark (who seems like the worst of the bunch — good luck, Seahawks).

In free agency, the Jerome Simpson signing raised eyebrows, but his scrapes with the law all stemmed from non-violent offenses. Then the 49ers signed Torrey Smith, who has a personality that sounds almost too good to be true.

There are still plenty of questions. The Bruce Miller case has yet to be sorted out. Aldon Smith wouldn’t still be on the roster if he was a normal player, but he’s getting one last shot because he’s a high draft pick with the ability to be a dominant pass rusher. Ahmad Brooks was recently accused of sexual assault, although there’s a decent chance he won’t be on the team after June 1. Reggie Bush’s name came up in the Darren Sharper case before the 49ers signed him, but those accusations didn’t lead to anything.

A lot of 49ers fans told me they should sign Greg Hardy and draft DGB, which illustrates something we see across all professional sports: a large section of fans care only about results, and couldn’t care less about character. But it seems as if the 49ers are starting to care a lot more about what kind of people they’re adding to the roster than they did before, and for that I think they deserve some credit.

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40 Comments on "Time to give the 49ers some credit"

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SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life
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SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life

That’s right. Hope you enjoy that crow you’re eating. This is just the appetizer. The 49ers will be piling it on high and thick for you to chow down on when they go 15-1 with this high character, well coached classy team.
FAITHFUL DONT COMPLAIN. FAITHFUL STFU AND BUY TICKETS.
VIVA JED!

bballnut88
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bballnut88

BASportsGuy um… You realized that they kept him after multiple accusations before right?? Sooooo much credit

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

bballnut88 guessing you didn’t read the post, since I mentioned how they waited too long and it blew up in their faces

bballnut88
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bballnut88

BASportsGuy I didn’t. “Giving them credit” as a headline is pretty dumb. I don’t read articles after dumb headlines

bballnut88
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bballnut88

BASportsGuy dude had been beating woman for years. Your niners kept him around

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

bballnut88 And I don’t converse with people who admit they don’t know what they’re talking about.

bballnut88
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bballnut88

BASportsGuy I admitted that? Take some reading comprehension classes. Isn’t that in grammar school? Yikes!

ohbillybilly
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ohbillybilly

BASportsGuy it’s a shame their best off season move was getting rid of an abusive man. There’s no place in pro sports for those types.

noelgalindo
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noelgalindo

BASportsGuy no credit, they still let him play last season, #classless

602Ghouse
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602Ghouse

BASportsGuy Only after out of playoff contention or you know during the offseason. #StayclassySF #sorrynotsorry

billynorthhitsthewall
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billynorthhitsthewall

One glaring aspect of Jed’s hypocrisy is that he is himself a sex harrasser who has fired staff who complained.

leftydana
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leftydana

Carlos Hyde isn’t exactly Mr. Character. He got suspended while at Ohio State for punching a woman in a bar. Though charges weren’t filed, apparently there was enough evidence for him to be suspended for three games.
And yes, the 49ers’ “due process” stuff with McDonald looks even worse with each new report of what a menace to society the guy is. I’m glad they finally did the right thing, but I’m not gving them any credit for how long it took them.

Jay
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Jay

@bballnut88 BASportsGuy Ha, random guy who refuses to use reading comprehension lecturing BASG about it. Classic.

highsox
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highsox

billynorthhitsthewall whoa really?? i’ve never heard that! do you have more info?

Walsh4ever
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Walsh4ever

In my opinion, Jed’s “win with class” comment has been widely misinterpreted by both fans and the media. I believe he was referring strictly to Harbaugh’s lack of class: lack of sportsmanship towards other coaches; ranting on the sidelines; behavior during press conferences and interviews. That’s only the public stuff – I can only imagine how he treated people in the organization behind the scenes. I’m not justifying his firing. I still think he was a good coach who was actively undermined by Jed and Balke. Just tired of the “no class” comment being overblown.

SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life
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SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life

Exactly! Look at Bill Belichick the current super bowl winner. He is the epitome of class that Jed wants. But, everyone wants outrage so they spin it.
VIVA JED

Eric
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Eric
Dude, Tough to back you on this at all. Just because they didn’t sign Greg Hardy, and got rid of Ray McDonald after the fact? They weren’t signing guys like Hardy before, and 30 other teams had no interest in him either. There were allegations of team preferential police treatment that led him to skate by in the first place. Just because they signed guys who are not quite as bad, or are only guilty of “non-violent crimes? You are really reaching by even sticking that in print. The pertinent fact remains that Jed made a mandate, and immediately they… Read more »
JohnSchairer
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JohnSchairer

@bballnut88 BASportsGuy you’re a pretty special type of loud-mouth imbecile. The one who loves to talk and is proud of their ignorance.

Scott no2
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Scott no2

Maybe it’s best to just say. “he ain’t our problem anymore!”

Death to the hashtag
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Death to the hashtag

SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life Pulgas de Brent Burns used to give entertaining posts. What ever happened to that guy?

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman

@Eric The character situation is largely a zero sum equation at best?  What do you mean by that?

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman

Walsh4ever Isn’t it York himself who made “win with class” into a slogan?

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman

leftydana So… if someone accused you of a crime, you would think it right for your employer to fire you?  Personally, I’d prefer that there be some sort of process in place to ensure that there’s something behind the accusations.

Walsh4ever
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Walsh4ever

It’s never been an official slogan. As far as I know it’s been mentioned twice by Jed in interviews, once with Murph and once on national TV. Both times in reference to Harbaugh’s firing. Balke has never mentioned it. The media just took this and ran with it. I’m not defending Jed. I’m just tired of it being brought up every time they sign or draft someone with a “questionable” background. The NFL is a violent league, not for choirboys.

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman
Walsh4ever It certainly is.  I think what helped turn the “win with class” thing something like a slogan is how it came out at the same time that Harbaugh was being fired.  From the KNBR interview and press conferences (and I’m sure from other media noise as well), I definitely got the impression that Harbaugh was being blamed for a lack of class or character.  As if he were protecting guys like Aldon Smith, and putting victories before character.  But yes, it’s a violent league… and the most popular sport in a very violent country, so I do tend to… Read more »
EliDrabman
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EliDrabman

@bballnut88 BASportsGuy Is putting “ball” and “nut” right next to one another necessarily the best idea?  I mean… your call, obviously.

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman

SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life But why the 1?  Defeat is possible?

Eric
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Eric
EliDrabman I mean its a wash….Paraphrasing a bit, but basically the gist of the post above is that the Niners should be praised for not taking the worst character guys available, such as Green-Beckham or Frank Clark. Furthermore they got rid of Ray McDonald, so they are doing commendable  things. I say that’s a ridiculous take, and at best they are breaking even. Aldon Smith is a mess, that would have been kicked to the curb by any other team if he weren’t so good. There in shows the lack of some win with class at all costs ideology. The… Read more »
coredump
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coredump

Walsh4ever  Your theory may be correct, but I don’t see how that really makes his stance any better.
E.g. in Jed’s World, it’s only required that the coach he doesn’t like have class. Everybody else can do whatever they want.

Double standards are great — very convenient.
Whatever Jed thought he meant when he said it, he’d probably be better off overall if he stopped making public statements.

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman
@Eric EliDrabman I think the idea is just that they made the right decision to get rid of McDonald and that there may be evidence for a shift in perspective.  I personally would like to see the 49ers continue to have an open mind about personnel.  I think it’s really easy for someone to acquire a bad reputation, but it’s the details of a situation, not the headlines, that really matter.  Culliver’s a perfect example.  I mean, he made a homophobic statement in public, but he was essentially baited into it by Artie Lange.  I imagine he was simply expressing the… Read more »
Walsh4ever
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Walsh4ever

coredump Walsh4ever Agreed that he should shut up. And hyprocisy from high powered corporate types is certainly no revelation. My issue is really not Jed. I don’t have high expections for him or, unfortunately, for his regime. I’m just tired of the media constantly bringing this up when any 49er without an impeccable background is signed or drafted. To me, it’s obvious that “win with class” has never been the official 49er policy, nor should it be, if they want to win.

Walsh4ever
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Walsh4ever

EliDrabman Couldn’t agree more. The fault lies with the media and, by extension, fans who rush to judgement and create a PR shitstorm that the team can’t ignore and forces them into premature action.

billynorthhitsthewall
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billynorthhitsthewall

My close friend worked catering for the Yorks. Lotsa stories, none of them good. Bad peeps.

billynorthhitsthewall
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billynorthhitsthewall

What sucks is blurring the line between somebody who smokes weed or sign autographs in college vs somebody who beats women or children, or worse.
But yes, sending a consistent message that actual violence will end a career can benefit actual humans in the lives of the other players and, possibly, chip away at a culture of acceptance of domestic violence.

EliDrabman1
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EliDrabman1
billynorthhitsthewall Yes, smoking a joint or signing an autograph do seem a lot different than hitting someone off of the football field.  There’s certainly a place for the “ostracize and punish” approach, but I don’t think it’s the best solution for every situation.  Ray McDonald is a perfect example of the ineffectiveness of that approach.  He was punished by the 49ers, the “message” was delivered, and he did the same thing again elsewhere.  Now what do we have?  A 300 pound man with a history of violence against women, no job and lots of time on his hands.  I don’t… Read more »
Beisbolero
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Beisbolero

Esq Harry Berezin is the 49ers FO biggest AZ$$SS KISSER.

billynorthhitsthewall
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billynorthhitsthewall

You’re sympathy is misplaced, logic flawed. There IS an acceptance in this country of an appalling level of domestic violence. While cutting McDonald may or may not help him (or his ex) it can send a string message to the hundreds of other players (and future ones currently in high school and college) that giving into a moment of rage can lead to the loss of MILLIONS of dollars.

Eric
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Eric
Walsh4ever EliDrabman No way, that’s strict fandom speaking. If it wasn’t your team, you’d be “they’re bums!” Trust me, if it were the Raiders, there would be gleeful stomping by Niner fans, and we’ve all seen it. We all want our teams to win, and truthfully will fudge if it lands us a top player. What you have here is a case of social relativism, where whats ok for us is not ok for everyone else, ie its fine we held on McDonald for so long, til his 2nd arrest. Its fine we keep Aldon Smith cause he’s good. Culliver? Oh,… Read more »
coredump
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coredump

Walsh4ever coredump  Heh, you may as well just say “I’m tired of the media”, because bringing up every dumb thing said by anyone in the public eye is what they do.  smile
And the internet never forgets either.

EliDrabman1
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EliDrabman1

billynorthhitsthewall  Well, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.  I think the causes of domestic violence are a lot more complicated than that.  For serial offenders, it’s not a crime of passion, but of power.  I don’t think you solve problems of that depth and complexity with messages and punishments.  The number of repeat offenders in our prisons is evidence of the ineffectiveness of that approach.

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