The San Francisco 49ers better be holding a royal flush in their hands because all actions by the team seem to indicate they're all in with Ray McDonald.

It is impossible to discuss McDonald's situation without addressing the ongoing investigation in the Ray Rice domestic violence issue, even if Jed York recently stated in an interview with KNBR that "Ray McDonald is not Ray Rice." On that note let's define who Rice is: a 27-year old athlete currently out of job and indefinitely suspended by the NFL due to sucker punching his then fiancée (and now wife) Janay Rice in an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey on 2/15/14. In the infamous words of Brad Pitt in Moneyball, "... there's 50 feet of crap," and then there's Rice. The NFL as well as the Baltimore Ravens have either purposely or mistakenly mishandled this situation depending on how you want to look at things. What's clear is that the subsequent two-game suspension towards Rice for violation of the league's personal conduct policy was embarrassing to say the least (oh, and it came 5 months after the incident, by the way). The information that had been made publicly available showed that Rice had committed an assault on his fiancée inside the elevator and there was footage showing Rice dragging her out of said elevator completely unconscious. Concluding that Rice's assault in that elevator was violent and uncalled for was apparently difficult because the league/team did not give Rice the deserved punishment until a video of Rice's sucker punch surfaced earlier this week. The poor handling of this matter by the NFL/Ravens has the whole nation calling for heads to roll and there is now a former FBI director assigned to lead an independent investigation of how the Rice case was dealt with by the league.

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That doesn't sound like something you would want your team to be involved with, right? Enter Ray McDonald and the 49ers. He was arrested 11 days ago on suspicion of felony domestic violence. Reports indicate the victim is McDonald's fiancée, who is nearly three-months pregnant. The local (San Jose) Police Department has yet to complete its investigation on the matter and as of this moment there is no confirmation as to whether McDonald will be charged. In the meantime the 49ers have decided to allow McDonald to practice with the team, play in the season opening game at Dallas, and barring any significant news against him it sure seems the Florida alumni will play in San Francisco's home opener this Sunday night. Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke, and York have all gone on record to state that they will let due process play out.

However, and as much as McDonald may not be Rice, the perceivable shady behavior in the handling of the Ray Rice incident does not give the NFL/49ers the benefit of the doubt in how McDonald has been dealt with (or not) so far. Multiple reports confirm the league and the team have significant resources to conduct an investigation that will allow them to gather up enough facts as to whether the player is likely to be guilty of the alleged crime. The fact that the 49ers continue to protect McDonald's right to be innocent until proven guilty suggests that the league/team's investigation up until this point is favorable to McDonald. If that's the case, the NFL/49ers better hope that their investigation is thorough and that nothing is being covered up because the non-stop coverage of the Rice incident clearly shows that if there are skeletons in the closet, then somebody will find them.

Whether they understood the consequences of their actions at the time or not, the team's handling of the McDonald investigation has put them in a spotlight that will either add them to or set them apart from the despicable situation that the NFL/Ravens are currently a part of. At this point anything other than a complete and truthful clean up of McDonald's name will be a failure and the team is too far into their support for McDonald to fold.