Coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t want to insert himself into the investigation of 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald and declined to comment when asked whether he and the 49ers think McDonald will be cleared of wrongdoing.
A report by the NFL Network on Sunday said the 49ers believe McDonald’s version of what happened at his house Aug. 31 that led to his arrest on suspicion of domestic abuse.
“I can’t comment,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a legal process that’s going on. As you notice, I haven’t inserted myself into it to try to sway it one way or another. As we said from the beginning, we’re waiting for information, waiting for facts.”
Harbaugh, however, wasn’t shy about saying he believed quarterback Colin Kaepernick and wide receiver Quinton Patton when they were in the midst of an investigation in Miami this year.
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“I’ve seen one side reported. I’ve heard the other side,” Harbaugh said April 25. “I feel very good there’ll be a good resolution, and hopefully a just one, too. I hate to see (Kaepernick’s) reputation be the victim.”
It wasn’t until June 12 that Kaepernick, Patton and Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette were cleared in the police probe in South Florida.
Some observers, including former 49ers quarterback Steve Young and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom have called for the 49ers to sit McDonald while the investigation continues.
“There’s been a lot of public speculation and people weighing in with their opinion, whether it’s a public figure or people on social media,” Harbaugh said. “Our response would be, we have two principles at play here. And one is respect for due process. And we’re not going to flinch based on public speculation.”
McDonald was scheduled to appear in court Monday. Because the investigation is ongoing, that initial court date could be delayed two weeks.