Echoing the sentiments of former teammate Steve Young and California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsome, Rice says if it were up to him, McDonald wouldn't play until his legal case was resolved. The Hall of Famer called the 49ers' choice "unfortunate."
Rice's full interview can be seen on Thursday's episode of SI Now at 1 p.m. ET.
McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31 on the suspicion that he beat his pregnant girlfriend. He has continued to practice and play with the team since his arrest, as 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and CEO Jed York have said they won't discipline McDonald until there are further developments in his case.
As of Thursday morning, McDonald's case was still being investigated and charges had not been presented to the San Jose district attorney's office.
McDonald's arrest comes amid wider controversy surrounding the NFL about domestic violence and abuse, brought on by the release of video depicting Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée inside a casino elevator.
In the past week, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was deactivated for Week 2 after being indicted on child abuse charges last week, reinstated on Monday and then placed on the Commissioner's Exempt list on Wednesday. The Carolina Panthers also placed defensive end Greg Hardy, convicted in July of assaulting and communicating threats to his ex-girlfriend, on the exempt list on Wednesday after allowing him to play in Week 1.
- Ben Estes