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Niners cut McDonald

Ray McDonald, the defensive lineman San Francisco stood by during a domestic-violence probe, now faces sexual-assault investigation.

CITING A PATTERN of behavior and off-field issues, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke informed defensive lineman Ray McDonald that he was released yesterday amid a sexual-assault investigation by San Jose police.

"After the recent allegations concerning Ray McDonald, we as an organization notified him and his agent that he will be terminated, released immediately, effective immediately," Baalke said. "While this organization has a strong belief in due process and has demonstrated that over time, Ray's demonstrated a pattern of poor decision-making that has led to multiple distractions to this organization and this football team that really can no longer be tolerated."

Baalke said CEO Jed York and coach Jim Harbaugh also were involved in the decision. Baalke said the 49ers notified the NFL of the allegations against McDonald, saying: "This is a team decision. This is not a league decision."

San Jose police Sgt. Heather Randol said yesterday that the department is investigating McDonald on suspicion of sexual assault and had searched his San Jose home. Randol said an area hospital notified police late Tuesday night that a woman was seeking treatment.

"The victim alleged she was possibly sexually assaulted a day prior," Randol said. "Based on preliminary investigation, detectives secured a search warrant and served it at the alleged suspect's residence in San Jose."

Randol didn't immediately respond to follow-up questions seeking to clarify the reference to the alleged victim saying she was "possibly" sexually assaulted.

No arrests have been made nor charges filed. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the league is "looking into" the case.

This is the second time in recent months that McDonald has been the subject of a police investigation.

Last month, the Santa Clara County district attorney's office announced that it declined to file charges against the defensive lineman in a domestic-violence investigation. He was arrested Aug. 31 while celebrating his then-upcoming 30th birthday at his home.

Following the arrest, York, Baalke and Harbaugh repeatedly said they have zero tolerance for domestic violence. The 49ers stuck by McDonald throughout the investigation, with Harbaugh regularly saying that "due process" would play out. McDonald played despite outside pressure on Harbaugh and the organization to bench him.

Prosecutors cited conflicting versions of what happened, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a lack of cooperation by the alleged victim, McDonald's fiancee, in explaining their decision not to pursue charges in the domestic-violence investigation.


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