After strongly stating his repulsion of domestic abuse Tuesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh spent Wednesday sounding just as forceful a message about due process of law.
“We all live in America. We all understand that sometimes patience is required when it comes to due process,” Harbaugh said. “But I think we all owe that to everybody that’s involved. There’s a respect for due process, in my opinion.”
That made it sound as if defensive end Ray McDonald, arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse Sunday, will play against the Cowboys in four days. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office is gathering information on whether to charge McDonald. His first court date is scheduled for Sept. 15, one day after the 49ers’ Week 2 game against Chicago.
McDonald was not on hand for the start of the team’s practice Wednesday. Instead, he came down the steps from the second story of team headquarters – where general manager Trent Baalke has an office – and joined teammates 20 minutes into the session.
When it was noted during Harbaugh’s news conference that due process is a legal term and doesn’t necessarily apply to a company or football team as far as suspending employees, Harbaugh said, “This is America. You’re innocent until you’re proven guilty. I don’t know what more I can say about that. I have great respect for that principle.”
Harbaugh even attempted to paraphrase the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unfair treatment in the legal process. “Man or a woman is not to be punished before due process occurs,” he said.
Does that mean McDonald must be found guilty before the 49ers act? “It’ll be based on information and the facts,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh also has an impetus to keep as much information from the Cowboys as possible. He would not elaborate about McDonald’s or any other player’s status, including receiver Brandon Lloyd and guard Alex Boone, for whom the 49ers currently have a roster exemption.
“We’ve gone through the whole training camp process and we’ve been forthcoming on injuries, depth charts, who’s playing where. ... That information flow is getting tightened up,” Harbaugh said. “There’s an injury report. And that’s about all we got for you.”
Crabtree missed time with a hamstring strain in August. He’s dealing with a calf issue now. Davis had shoulder surgery in April but was out with a hamstring strain Wednesday.
In Dallas, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (back) was a full participant.