Nancy Pelosi: Ray McDonald Should Not Be Allowed to Play

More pressure is being applied to the San Francisco 49ers as the team continues to let defensive lineman Ray McDonald play and play practice with the team.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the 49ers, her hometown team, should not have let McDonald play against the Chicago Bears last weekend.

“Our coach says innocent until proven guilty, due process and all of that, but the fact is, he shouldn't have played,” Pelosi said.

McDonald was arrested in August and is being investigated for felony domestic violence involving his pregnant fiance'.

Pelosi said that for now the NFL's investigation into its handling of the domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is an appropriate response.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) called for the NFL on Wednesday to suspend any players arrested for domestic violence. "We are told to ignore what happens off the sidelines in disciplinary board rooms, or behind elevator doors — all for the sport," Speier said on the House floor. "Well, I refuse to ignore what is happening."

Speier wants the House Oversight Committee to hold a hearing on the NFL's handling of the recent domestic abuse charges.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh, who has said he has zero tolerance for domestic violence, once again Wednesday defended the team’s position of allowing McDonald to play and to afford him the benefit of due process.

“I believe that our position on the issue has been well-stated, and we’re following that process,” Harbaugh said.

McDonald has been out on bail since his arrest last month and he has still not been charged in the domestic violence case, but Pelosi says pro football players are role models to our kids who should not get special treatment.

"We have to recognize that sports figures are in a special place in our country and young people look up to them as heroes in what they do," Pelosi said.

Pelosi said all the talk about domestic violence in the media is “the silver lining.” "People are getting a better understanding of what is happening,” Pelosi said, “that disrespect, it manifests itself in many ways.”

When asked whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should resign over the way his office handled the incident, the Pelosi sidestepped the question. But she didn't rule out that Congress would reconsider the NFL'S anti-trust exemption, which allows teams to negotiate radio and television broadcast rights together.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Us