Adam L. Jahns at the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Bears defensive end Ray McDonald has been cleared of violating the NFL player conduct policy by the league office. The Bears signed McDonald after three runins with the law in seven months. The first was an incident which involved him wrestiling with his pregant fiancee over a gun. The second was a domestic violence complaint also involving his fiancee. The third was a sexual assault accusation from a woman who is not McDonald’s fiancee. The league hasn’t cleared McDonald on the third incident yet.
Bears ownership initially rejected he idea of signing McDonald despite the support of Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio:
“‘[Fangio] felt he was one of the leaders on the defense, him and [end] Justin Smith,’ [Bears head coach John] Fox said. ‘Teammates thought very highly of him, and you’re around your teammates a lot in this business.'”
Eventually ownership relented but only after McDonald sat down and talked to Bears president George McCaskey.
At the time the Bears signed McDonald, I said I would reserve judgement until some of my questions were answered. I think that no more information is going to be forthcoming so I can give my opinion now.
I make it a habit to judge people by their actions, not what they say. A lot of trouble could be avoided if more people followed that rule. People believe too easily what they want to believe and can be talked too easily into believing it.
The fact that Fangio and McDonald’s teammates were “shocked” tells me only one thing – that McDonald is a heck of a con man. If they were still shocked after it happened a third time then it tells me they’re stupid, as well. The fact that McCaskey relented based, not upon the facts in his file, but upon what McDonald said only re-enforces that opinion.
It’s obvious to me that McDonald is in a toxic relationship. It drove him to what amounts to two domestic violence complaints and one sexual encounter outside of whatever boundaries he’s set with his fiancee. As long as that relationship contiues, he’s headed for trouble. And given that she’s apparently had his baby, I’d say he’ll never really be extracted from it. And, of course, even worse is what that relationship uncovered – a tendency towards responding to bad situations with violence upon the weak.
I don’t know what McDonald has said and I don’t want to know. I want to hear what he’s done to clean up the mess he’s made of his life. Until I hear that, until I hear more than talk, I’m going to assume that his problems are going to continue.
I’m going to say up front that I’m a rare bird. Most fans in most places will forgive almost anything if the think it will help the team win. That includes Chicago, where fans once gave Scotty Pippen a standing ovation after an infamous incident in which he quit on his team and refused to enter a playoff game with 1.8 seconds left to play.
But personally, I’d honestly rather that the Bears were miserable at defensive end than have a guy like McDonald on the team. I think about rooting for McDonald this fall, a guy who apparently can’t keep control himself around women, and it makes me sick. That’s the way I feel.