Jed York on Ray McDonald: You Need To Do The ‘Right Thing’ Not The ‘Most Popular’

On Tuesday, San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York joined Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey on the KNBR morning show for his firs public interview since Ray McDonald was arrested on a domestic violence charge over Labor Day weekend.

The very first question that York faced was why as the team’s top executive he hadn’t addressed the matter sooner.

Our organization speaks as one voice,” said York, who has previouslt left head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke to answer the onslaught of questions.

“Feel free to put my name associated with any of their words that they’ve said.”

Murphy and McCaffrey then pressed York on whether it was unfair for the franchise’s leader to make Harbaugh and Baalke speak on his behalf.

“I mean, you can feel that. Jim speaks on football matters and football operations. That’s what one of his responsibilities is.”

York also commented on the organization’s thought process on letting McDonald take the field in Dallas for the season opener.

“I like quotes. John Wooden talks about character and reputation and I believe very strongly in that quote that you should care more about your character than your reputation. I’m comfortable that my reputation is going to take shots throughout this process. But my character is, I will not punish somebody until we see evidence that it should be done.”

York then addressed the arguments of team legends Steve Young and Ronnie Lott, who asserted that the team should have sat out and paid the defensive lineman.

“I think it’s a fair argument, and again, I think I’ve said it clearly, until we can go through an entire process and understand all of the facts and let that play out. Again, I mean, I would much rather have somebody criticize me for doing that than punishing somebody who might be innocent.”

“As a leader, I think you need to make sure you’re doing what you feel is the right thing. And it’s not always what’s the most popular thing.”

When asked about the larger issue of domestic violence and the NFL, York explained that he doesn’t see any parallels between the 49ers situation and the one in Baltimore.

“Each case is it’s own separate case. Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice.”

“Each case is it’s own individual entity.”


Note: All quotes courtesy of KNBR. Listen to the full interview right here.

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