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Harbaugh: 49ers won't punish Ray McDonald based on public speculation

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that "public speculation" will not move the team to punish defensive end Ray McDonald.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that "public speculation" will not move the team to punish defensive end Ray McDonald.

McDonald, who was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence against his pregnant fiancee on Aug. 31, has played in the 49ers' two games this season against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.

“You’ve seen there’s been a lot of public speculation and people weighing in with their opinion whether it’s a public figure or people through social media,” Harbaugh said, according to CSN Bay Area. “Our response would be: We have two principles at play here. One is respect for due process. And we’re not going to flinch, based on public speculation.”

Harbaugh's comments echo those of 49ers CEO Jed York, who said last week that he will not punish McDonald "until we see evidence something should be done or until an entire police investigation shows us something."

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San Jose police are still investigating the incident. McDonald's arraignment, expected to take place on Monday, was postponed. Harbaugh, who has said the 49ers will not tolerate domestic violence, indicated the investigation could conclude this week.

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Before Sunday's game against Chicago, former San Francisco mayor and now California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom and his wife released a statement calling for the 49ers to bench McDonald.

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The Carolina Panthersdeactivated defensive end Greg Hardy, who was found guilty on two counts of domestic violence, prior to Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The McDonald case surfaced amid public uproar over the NFL's handling of Ray Rice's alleged assault. A few days before McDonald's arrest was reported, the league announced a harsher domestic violence policy.

- Chris Johnson