Earlier this year I wrote that Ray McDonald’s legal troubles and the 49ers’ insistence to let the legal process sort it out would define the reputation of Jed York and the team. And in the end, the 49ers came out on top. Of course, the rumblings of whether or not the officer helping McDonald had any connection with the team is the what if that still remains.
Now, another what if hovers over the team involving Ray McDonald. It’s not whether or not the decision to release him was right (I believe it was) but it’s more on what if the 49ers were still in the playoff hunt?
Remember, the 49ers stuck with McDonald the first time and because of that, McDonald was able to play instead of serving a punishment. If the 49ers were not eliminated from the playoff hunt, would the 49ers have held on to McDonald just a bit for his services on the field?
The team is already in deep water with their front office and coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly butting heads. But this is just another chapter to a very disappointing season the team is enduring. But in terms of public relations, the team had to get rid of McDonald. They were already being questioned for their decision to let Aldon Smith play last year. Then the McDonald situation this year.
As much as the 49ers preach about being fair and stern with their players, it didn’t seem that way for some time. But this is a change of tone. Maybe they’ve learned their lesson. Or maybe the season is just up in smoke that it didn’t matter if McDonald was around for the last two games.