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NFL Clears Bears DE Ray McDonald of Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault Investigation Comes Next

The NFL has┬ácompleted their investigation of Chicago Bears defensive lineman Ray McDonald in connection with domestic violence charges and has cleared him of wrongdoing, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. The message was delivered by NFL general council Jeff Pash during the Associated Press’ Sports Editors’ meetings on Friday.

Per Pash:

We have completed that [domestic-violence] investigation. [Special counsel for investigations] Lisa [Friel] and her team completed that investigation [and] did not establish a violation of the personal-conduct policy. We informed the player and the [NFL] Players Association.

McDonald was being investigated by the league because of an August 31, 2014 arrest on suspicion of felony domestic violence in California, where he once played for the San Francisco 49ers. Insufficient evidence led to no charges being filed, but because of the nature of the allegations, the NFL took notice. The league, however, did not find enough evidence themselves to punish McDonald under the personal-conduct policy.

That does not mean that McDonald, signed by the Bears in March, is out of the woods yet. There is also a sexual assault allegation that is currently under investigation by the San Jose, California Police Department that the NFL will also look into. The incident, reported in December 2014, could lead to further punishment for McDonald, though the time table for that is not certain. McDonald is suing the accuser.

Friel made it clear that the NFL was only referring to McDonald’s domestic violence charges in their ruling and not the sexual assault, saying, “It’s the domestic-violence incident that we have finished investigating and didn’t find sufficient evidence to say that he violated the personal-conduct policy.┬áThe sexual-assault incident, that investigation is ongoing. That has not been completed, nor has the district attorney’s office in Santa Clara County completed their investigation into that matter.”

Once McDonald’s most recent case has been adjudicated, then the NFL can move forward in its investigation and make a determination if a suspension or other punishment is warranted. Meanwhile, McDonald is free to participate in all Bears’ offseason activities while the Bears can continue to pretend their conscious is clear when it comes to signing McDonald in a year where domestic violence in the NFL has been one of the league’s biggest shames.

Photo: USA Today Sports