Baalke: 49ers have been in contact with NFL

Baalke: 49ers have been in contact with NFL
September 2, 2014, 12:45 pm
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They're guiding us, but they're not telling us exactly how to handle this matter. And the matter will be handled by the organization.
Trent Baalke

SANTA CLARA -- General manager Trent Baalke said Tuesday the 49ers have spoken to the NFL Office, but the organization is taking the lead on how to deal with defensive end Ray McDonald.

"We've been in contact with the league on several occasions since this incident took place, and they know exactly the stance we're taking and the things we're trying to do to make the best possible decision we can," Baalke said. "They're guiding us, but they're not telling us exactly how to handle this matter. And the matter will be handled by the organization."

McDonald was arrested early Sunday morning by San Jose Police on felony domestic violence charges. That came three days after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced more severe punishment for domestic violence in light of what was considered a light, two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice after an incident involving his now-wife this offseason.

[RELATED: McDonald arrested]

Baalke said he could not answer whether McDonald will play Sunday in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. But McDonald is scheduled to practice later Tuesday, Baalke said.

"That remains to be seen," Baalke said. "We're still in the fact-finding mode, trying to get as much information as we can, and we'll have more knowledge later today and certainly more knowledge the next day and moving forward. Nothing has been determined at this point."

Baalke said he has held "lengthy conversations" with McDonald on Monday and Tuesday. He said he has not spoken to the other 49ers players who attended McDonald's birthday party that evening.

"Right now, it's a legal matter," Baalke said. "There's such a thing called due process and we intend to let that thing play out."

He added, "I don't know we'll wait for the court process. We're in the mode of finding out as many facts as we can, talking to as many people as we can, and trying to make the best decision we can for everybody involved: The organization, the player, the victim, everybody."

Last season, the 49ers allowed Aldon Smith to play two days after he was involved in a single-vehicle incident and was arrested on DUI charges. Baalke said that incident did not set a precedent that will be used with McDonald.

"I don't think Aldon's case has anything to do with this case," Baalke said. "They're separate issues and they'll be dealt with separately."