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Nats beat Braves to clinch another NL East title
ATLANTA (AP) The Washington Nationals are again champions of the NL East, wrapping up their second division title in three years against the team that knocked them out of the top spot last season. Tanner Roark pitched five-hit ball over seven innings, Ian Desmond's two-run homer broke a scoreless tie and the Nationals celebrated another trip to the playoffs with a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. The clinching victory was especially sweet coming against the Braves, who finished 10 games ahead of the Nationals in 2013. The roles were reserved this season as Washington steadily pulled away down the stretch. Atlanta lost for the 11th time in 14 games, further damaging its hopes of making a third straight playoff appearance as a wild card. The Braves dropped to 75-76 with their fifth straight loss, the first time they have been under .500 since losing on opening day to Milwaukee. They came into the night 4 1/2 games behind Pittsburgh for the second NL wild card and have only 11 games left in the regular season. Roark (14-10) pitched around four leadoff singles by Atlanta, which never got a runner past second base. He struck out four and walked none, lifted after throwing 89 pitches. Tyler Clippard worked a scoreless eighth, and Drew Storen finished up for his seventh save. The Nationals finally broke through in the sixth off Aaron Harang (11-11). After Jayson Werth led off with a walk, Adam LaRoche took a called third strike before Harang worked the count to 2-2 on Desmond. The next pitch was a breaking pitch that stayed up in the zone. Desmond got all of it, sending a drive deep into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer of the season. Left fielder Justin Upton barely moved, while Harang pumped his fist angrily on the mound. Desmond scored another run in the ninth, trotting home on David Carpenter's wild pitch. The Nationals will be making only the third playoff appearance in the franchise's 46-year history. They reached the postseason only once as the Montreal Expos before moving to Washington in 2005. Two years ago, the Nationals had a major league-leading 98 wins but were stunningly beaten by the St. Louis Cardinals in the deciding game of the NL division series. Washington jumped ahead 6-0 after three innings and still led 7-5 going to the ninth, only to give up four runs with two outs. TRAINER'S ROOM Nationals: LF Bryce Harper was back in the lineup after leaving Monday's game in the third inning when he felt light-headed. Manager Matt Williams said Harper had a "little bit of the gunk" that seemed to be going around in the Washington clubhouse. ... 3B Ryan Zimmerman (strained hamstring) continued his rehab in the instructional league, playing three innings at first base and getting five at-bats in a simulated game. "It was a good day," Williams said. Next up, Zimmerman will play five innings the next time out, three at third base and two at first base. Braves: C Evan Gattis missed his eighth straight game since coming down with strep throat. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he doesn't know when Gattis will be healthy enough to return. UP NEXT Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-10) has won two of his three starts in September after going nearly two months without a win. Braves: LHP Alex Wood (10-10) has lasted at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of his 22 starts. Atlanta is 5-7 in those games. --- Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:55:00 +0000
Union appeals Rice's indefinite suspension by NFL
BALTIMORE (AP) The NFL players' union appealed Ray Rice's indefinite suspension Tuesday night. Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator. The Baltimore running back had already served the first game of that suspension when, on Sept. 8, a video surfaced showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator. Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the "new evidence." Goodell and the Ravens say they never saw the video before Sept. 8. "This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players," the NFL Players Association said in a statement. "The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the commissioner of the NFL. We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators." The NFLPA said that the collective bargaining agreement requires a hearing date be set within 10 days of the appeal notice. It also said the hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available. The union, which had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to file the appeal, added that under governing labor law, an employee can't be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment. The NFL didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. "The erratic and illogical system of ad hoc punishments is a paltry substitute for the leadership the NFL desperately needs right now," National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill said in a statement. "Roger Goodell must resign, and his successor must be fully committed to real and lasting change." Rice can apply for reinstatement when he convinces Goodell that he is "addressing this issue." Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the assault charge being dropped. The NFL has come under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the Rice situation - and other domestic violence cases - as the league tries to attract female fans to the game. It is an effort that has been scarred by the original two-game suspension, a punishment many women's organizations deemed too light. Goodell, in a letter sent to all 32 NFL owners in August, acknowledged that he "didn't get it right." He then announced a new policy, stating that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension, and repeat offenders would be suspended indefinitely. The policy didn't apply to Rice, who had already received his penalty. There is apparently no precedent for the indefinite suspension Rice received after the video surfaced. With all questions about who knew what and when - The Associated Press has reported the video was sent to NFL offices in April - the league has hired former FBI director Robert Mueller to look into how the NFL sought and handled evidence in the domestic violence case. Soon after receiving the original suspension, Rice called his actions in the elevator "inexcusable" and apologized publicly to Janay, his mother, his teammates and the Ravens organization. He also addressed the length of the suspension, which came with a fine of three paychecks totaling more than $500,000. "I never planned to appeal any kind of punishment," Rice said on July 31. "So whether it was two games, four games, six games, eight games, I was going to own my actions and be a man about it and take whatever was given to me." At that time, he spoke about the damage his reputation received. "In some people's eyes, Ray can do no wrong. That's something I take pride in," he said. "I know a lot of people out there have lost respect, maybe not like me anymore. But that's my fault. I have to own that. That's my battle each day." It is a battle he has waged recently out of the public eye. Although he attended a football game at his former high school with his wife last weekend, he has not spoken to the media since his release from the Ravens. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Wed, 17 Sep 2014 03:06:00 +0000
Vikings bring back Peterson despite abuse charge
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings have seen the details. They have seen photos of the injuries that Adrian Peterson's 4-year-old son suffered at the hands of the star running back. They have a history of punishing players who have run into trouble with the law. The Vikings brought Peterson back to the team anyway even as the public furor over the NFL's approach to addressing domestic abuse reached a fever pitch. The Vikings reinstated Peterson on Monday, one day after he sat out a 30-7 home loss to the New England Patriots after he was charged with a felony in Texas for using a wooden switch to spank his son. Peterson, who said he was using a form of discipline his father used on him as a boy, is expected to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. "We are trying to do the right thing," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "This is a difficult path to navigate regarding the judgment of how a parent disciplines his child. Based on the extensive information we have right now and what we know of Adrian not only as a person but what he's done for this community, we believe he deserves to play while the legal process plays out." Peterson didn't talk with reporters, but issued a statement in which he insisted he is not a child abuser and wanted "everyone to understand how sorry I feel about the hurt I have brought to my child." "I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser," Peterson said in a nearly 500-word statement issued through his agency. "I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury. "No one can understand the hurt that I feel for my son and for the harm I caused him. My goal is always to teach my son right from wrong and that's what I tried to do that day." Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf said they decided to bring back Peterson for practices and Sunday's game at New Orleans "after significant thought, discussion and consideration." The Wilfs said they want to let the case play out before making any more definitive decisions on Peterson's future with the only NFL team he has ever played for. "To be clear, we take very seriously any matter that involves the welfare of a child," they said. "At this time, however, we believe this is a matter of due process and we should allow the legal system to proceed so we can come to the most effective conclusions and then determine the appropriate course of action." The Wilfs were not available for further comment on Monday but Spielman said they are going to leave the decision about whether Peterson crossed a line while disciplining his son up to the courts. "For a league full of people that claim to care about leadership, there sure seems to be a bunch of followers," ESPN analyst and former quarterback Tim Hasselbeck tweeted. Peterson faces a charge of reckless or negligent injury to a child, which carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. His initial court appearance in Conroe, Texas, near Houston, was scheduled for Oct. 8. Corporal punishment is legal in Texas and non-deadly force against a child by a parent or guardian is permissible. But the punishment is abusive if it causes injury. A blow that leaves a bruise, welt or swelling, or requires medical attention, could be judged abusive. The guidelines also say use of an instrument "is cause for concern." Peterson's attorney, Rusty Hardin, said Peterson used a switch because that was the way he was brought up by his parents in Palestine, Texas, and the NFL star agreed. "I have to live with the fact that when I disciplined my son the way I was disciplined as a child, I caused an injury that I never intended or thought would happen," Peterson said. "I know that many people disagree with the way I disciplined my child. I also understand after meeting with a psychologist that there are other alternative ways of disciplining a child that may be more appropriate." He noted that many people feel "very strongly" about corporal punishment, but said "regardless of what others think, however, I love my son very much and I will continue to try to become a better father and person." The Vikings decided to sit Peterson against the Patriots, moving swiftly after a week in which the NFL came under heavy scrutiny for its handling of a domestic violence case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Spielman said the Vikings have seen files the authorities have built on Peterson's case, including some photos of the injuries the boy sustained. "The photos are disturbing. I understand that," Spielman said. "But to be clear, any matter that's involving the child is very important for this organization. But we also think it is right for him to go through the process legally." The Vikings clearly see Peterson's case as different from the 2011 case involving former cornerback Chris Cook, who was accused of choking his girlfriend and charged with domestic assault. Cook was suspended by the team, reinstated with pay and then barred from all team activities, including games, while the legal process unfolded. Cook wound up missing 10 games and was eventually acquitted. He never faced discipline from the NFL and played two more seasons with the Vikings before signing with the 49ers. The Vikings also cut cornerback A.J. Jefferson last year, less than a day after he was arrested for domestic assault. In 2012, the Vikings cut practice squad running back Caleb King hours after he was released from jail after allegedly inflicting serious harm on another man in a fight. "Why are due process rights only reserved for the privileged (and) for those at the top of the roster?" former linebacker Scott Fujita tweeted. But Spielman steadfastly denied the team's decision on Peterson had anything to do with his status as one of the best players in the league and his ability to help the team win. "It has nothing to do with him as a football player," Spielman said. "It's based purely on the facts that we have that have been presented to us." The NFL is looking into Peterson's case, and if convicted he could face a minimum six-game suspension under the league's new domestic abuse policy that was implemented after Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted he botched Rice's initial punishment. Coach Mike Zimmer said he had input during deliberations, but ultimately it was ownership's decision to let him play again. "It's important that when I ask these players to do the things I ask them to do, to fight for me, to run through the wall for me, that I'm able do my very best to help support them when I can," Zimmer said. The Vikings' decision to reinstate Peterson came on the same day the NFL announced that three experts in domestic violence will serve as senior advisers to the league and help shape policy. --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:19:00 +0000
Orioles clinch AL East with 8-2 win over Blue Jays
BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles won their first AL East crown since 1997, using home runs by Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 Tuesday night before a boisterous crowd of 35,297 at Camden Yards. With their ninth win in 10 games, the Orioles clinched their second playoff appearance in three years following a run of 14 consecutive losing seasons. Afterward, the Orioles converged behind second base, fireworks soared in the outfield and streamers sprayed throughout the crowd. It was Baltimore's ninth AL East title and only its second since 1983, when the Orioles last won the World Series. The franchise has enjoyed a rebirth under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, whose 1,254th victory thrust him past mentor Billy Martin into sole possession of 36th place on the career list. Baltimore is 42-23 in a division that includes the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the free-spending New York Yankees and pitching-rich Tampa Bay. The Orioles led by only four games on Aug. 6 before going on a 27-11 run. The clinching victory featured an unlikely list of contributors, not at all unusual for a team that often delved deep into its 25-man roster. Ubaldo Jimenez was making his first start in a month; Pearce has morphed from a bit-player to a key starter; and Paredes didn't join the team until Aug. 28. Pearce provided the Orioles with the lead for good with a three-run drive off Drew Hutchison (10-12) in the first inning. Pearce has 18 home runs this year, one more than he had in 290 games as a part-timer from 2007-13. Paredes hit a solo shot in the second to make it 4-2. It was his second homer in 10 games with Baltimore. In addition, newcomer Alejandro De Aza hit a three-run triple in the seventh for a 7-2 lead. De Aza came to the Orioles in an Aug. 30 trade with the Chicago White Sox. Jimenez (5-9) survived a rocky start to limit the Blue Jays to two runs and two hits over five innings in his third start since July 5. After signing a $50 million, four-year deal in the offseason, Jimenez struggled with his control for much of the season, sprained his ankle in a parking lot before the All-Star break and ultimately lost his place in the rotation. Pressed into service because the Orioles played a doubleheader Friday, Jimenez issued four walks in the first two innings. But he bounced back to retire his last 10 batters. TRAINER'S ROOM Blue Jays: Steve Tolleson was available off the bench after being hit on the arm by teammate Munenori Kawasaki's foul ball while sitting in the dugout the previous night. "We got lucky," manager John Gibbons said. Orioles: RHP Steve Johnson will have surgery to have a bone spur removed from the back of his right shoulder later this month and should be ready for 2015 spring training. He did not pitch for Baltimore this year. UP NEXT Bud Norris (13-8) brings a 7-1 record against AL East foes into a matchup with Toronto lefty J.A. Happ in the series finale. Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:15:00 +0000
Seattle wins US Open Cup, beating Philadelphia
CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins led the Seattle Sounders to their fourth U.S. Open Cup title Tuesday night, scoring in overtime in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. Dempsey, the U.S. national team captain, scored in the 101st minute on left-footed blast off Martins' feed. Martins scored on a breakaway in the 114th minute. Seattle also won three straight titles from 2009 to 2011. The Sounders earned one the United States' four spots in the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League. Seattle's Chad Barrett tied it at 1 on a header in the 47th minute. Maurice Edu opened the scoring for Philadelphia in the 38th minute, heading home a free kick from Cristian Maidana. The Union were playing in the first title game in the five-year history of the franchise. Wed, 17 Sep 2014 02:35:00 +0000
Domestic violence experts added as NFL advisers
NEW YORK (AP) Three experts in domestic violence will serve as consultants to the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to teams Monday announcing that Lisa Friel, Jane Randel and Rita Smith will work as "senior advisers." They will "help lead and shape the NFL's policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault," he wrote. Goodell has been under heavy criticism for his handling of the domestic abuse case involving star running back Ray Rice. Rice was initially suspended for two games. Goodell at first defended the punishment, but more than a month later, he told owners he "didn't get it right" and that first-time domestic violence offenders would face a six-game suspension going forward. Then Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the league after video surfaced of the assault on his then-fiancee. Friel was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office for more than a decade. Randel is the co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Monday's memo also said that Anna Isaacson, currently the NFL's vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, will become its vice president of social responsibility. "Anna has been leading our internal work relating to how we address issues of domestic violence and related social issues," Goodell wrote. "In this new role, she will oversee the development of the full range of education, training and support programs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and matters of respect." The National Organization for Women, which is calling for Goodell's resignation, called the appointments of the senior advisers "a step in the right direction - but it's not enough." On the new role for Isaacson, NOW said in a statement that "the fact that Roger Goodell is assigning a current member of his leadership team to oversee new policies shows once again that he just doesn't get it." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:42:00 +0000
Papelbon suspended 7 games by MLB
SAN DIEGO (AP) Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended seven games and fined Monday night by Major League Baseball for making a lewd gesture and then bumping an umpire. Papelbon said in a statement distributed by his agent that he would immediately begin serving the suspension, and that he regrets making contact with umpire Joe West on Sunday. But the right-hander insisted he wasn't making a vulgar motion toward fans as he walked off the field to boos after giving up four runs in the ninth inning of Philadelphia's 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins. He apologized to Phillies fans in the statement. "While I completely understand how the fans would perceive my gesture while being booed, it was not my intent whatsoever to insult the fans of Philadelphia," Papelbon said. "If it was perceived in that manner, I sincerely apologize." Papelbon was ejected by West after the umpire thought Papelbon grabbed his crotch in response to the jeers from the crowd. "The whole thing started because the fans booed him and he made an obscene gesture. He had no business doing that," West said Sunday. "He's got to be more professional than that. And that's why he was ejected." The fiery reliever jogged out of the dugout and got into a face-to-face argument with West, who grasped the pitcher's jersey to hold him off, and Papelbon then argued with first base umpire Marty Foster. Papelbon threw a cup of liquid on the field before leaving the dugout. "The Phillies fully support the decision of the Commissioner's Office, which has exclusive jurisdiction for on-field player behavior," the team said in a statement. "By Major League Baseball rules, the Phillies have no authority to make official judgments about activity which occurs on the field or to determine the appropriate penalty for misconduct. We apologize to our fans for the actions of our player yesterday." Papelbon had converted 14 straight save chances since July 22 when he entered with a 4-1 lead. He is 37 for 41 in save chances this season. Tue, 16 Sep 2014 02:29:00 +0000
Arians: OLB Abraham to return to Cardinals Tuesday
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona coach Bruce Arians says outside linebacker John Abraham will return to the Cardinals on Tuesday. Abraham left the team last week after sustaining a concussion in the Cardinals' season-opening victory over San Diego. Arians had said that Abraham was contemplating retirement, wondering if he still has the fire to play the game. "I knew a lot of it was the headaches and the first real big one (concussion) he's ever had," Arians said Monday, "and there are other things we're dealing with and he's fine with those. It will be the second return to the Cardinals for Abraham this season. The 15-year NFL veteran showed up late for training camp after undergoing what he later confirmed was rehabilitation for an alcohol problem. Abraham had until Tuesday to return or the Cardinals would have had to declare him out for the season. "He's excited about it," Arians said. "He's at the doctor's, the neurologist, now, to make sure he can pass the test and be ready to go." Arians said Abraham "talked to a couple of players Saturday night in the hotel." "We have been texting back and forth for the last three days," the coach said. "Probably about 30 minutes ago I asked him, `Do you want me to announce it at the press conference? He said, `Yes, that'd be great."' Abraham ranks ninth on the NFL's career sacks list with 133 1/2 and often has talked about how he wants nine more to move ahead of Michael Strahan into the No. 5 spot. He led the Cardinals with 11 1/2 sacks last season, his first with the team, and was voted to his fifth Pro Bowl. The 36-year-old linebacker had no tackles before leaving the season-opener in the third quarter. Abraham didn't arrive in training camp until Aug. 14, saying he had to deal with personal issues. He later confirmed that he had been in rehab. Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge in suburban Atlanta in late June. "He's ready to play," Arians said. --- AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:47:00 +0000
Panthers unsure if Hardy will play vs. Steelers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera isn't sure if Greg Hardy will play Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivera also said Monday that the team hasn't considered releasing the Pro Bowl defensive end who is involved in a domestic violence case. He added that Hardy will continue to practice and attend team meetings, but the coach won't make a decision on when Hardy plays until later this week. The Panthers plan to continue gathering information in what Rivera said is "a very fluid situation." Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim claimed he threw her down on a bed of guns and tossed her into the shower. He is appealing the ruling. Hardy played in Week 1 but Rivera deactivated him just hours before Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions - two days after the coach had said Hardy would play. Rivera said Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was involved in the Hardy discussion and the team received some input from the league, but it was his decision to bench him. Hardy made $770,588.23 - one-seventeenth of his yearly pay - despite not playing. Hardy is due to make $13.1 million this year. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman and his staff are "doing their due diligence in terms of looking at what our options are" going forward, Rivera said. The Panthers will have to decide by Week 6 how they want to handle Hardy's situation. Under the collective bargaining agreement, a team can only deactivate a player for non-injury reasons for a maximum of four games. The same limit applies if the Panthers were to suspend Hardy for conduct detrimental to the team. Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, declined to comment on the situation. On Monday, Hardy arrived at the stadium in his white Bentley shortly after noon wearing white shorts and a hooded white sweatshirt and sunglasses. He didn't acknowledge media questions as he strolled into the stadium. The decision to deactivate Hardy last Sunday was a difficult one, Rivera said. "If you play him and you win, then you don't have a conscience; and if you play him and you lose, he's a distraction," Rivera said. Rivera's decision to bench Hardy came after the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Adrian Peterson following his indictment for injuring a child. The Vikings released a statement Monday saying Peterson will play Sunday against New Orleans. The Panthers are trying to be careful not to be reactionary. "That is why we have to sit down and talk about these things," Rivera said. "And we did the same thing (on Sunday). We talked about a lot of things and at the end of the day I had to make a decision that I believe was in the best interest of our football team and for Greg." Rivera said he allowed Hardy to leave the stadium and return home after notifying him of the move. "I said, `Greg, are you OK with this?' and he said, `Coach, I understand,"' Rivera said. Carolina's defense didn't miss a beat without Hardy, forcing three turnovers and getting four sacks in a 24-7 victory. Hardy, who tied a franchise-record with 15 sacks last season, had four tackles and a sack in the team's regular-season opener at Tampa Bay. However, Hardy's status changed when the Ravens released Ray Rice and the league suspended him indefinitely last week after a video surfaced of Rice punching his then-fiancee. Later in the week, Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges, adding pressure on the Panthers to deactivate Hardy. Rivera said Sunday that "the climate had changed" in the NFL and that played into his decision to bench Hardy. When asked if the Panthers got it right the first time, Rivera said, "I don't know. What is right? You do the best you can and nobody is infallible. We have to get this issue right and we're trying to do the right thing." Panthers center and team co-captain Ryan Kalil said Monday he's glad he didn't have Rivera's job the last two weeks. "I don't envy having to make those tough decisions," Kalil said. Kalil also said he's tired of answering questions about Hardy, but said the best thing he advises younger teammates to do is focus on getting better. "There are countless guys I can name in this league that are just really good people," Kalil said. "My hope is that at some point we can focus on some of those guys. I know these things are the topic right now, but it's disappointing that it overshadows a lot of good people." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:50:00 +0000
Harbaugh: McDonald's legal process must play out
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh insisted Monday that public pressure will not sway his decision to play Ray McDonald during an investigation into the defensive lineman's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence. Harbaugh said there "could be" a resolution in the case this week for McDonald, arrested at his home Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday with teammates and friends. "I know there's an investigation going on that's continuing today," Harbaugh said. Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Sunday benched defensive end Greg Hardy for the team's 24-7 win over Detroit after he was active in Week 1. Hardy was convicted July 15 of assault on a female and communicating threats. He is appealing. McDonald has played and started both games so far for San Francisco (1-1), which lost 28-20 to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night. Harbaugh said the 49ers didn't compare the McDonald and Hardy situations. California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for McDonald's benching before the game. This after San Francisco suspended veteran play-by-play man Ted Robinson last week for two games after he made comments on the radio about the Ray Rice case that were deemed inappropriate. "Well, you've seen there's 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. "Our response would be, we have two principles at play here, and one is respect for due process, and we're not going to flinch based on public speculation." Harbaugh, 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke all have said publicly they will let the legal process play out before deciding to sit McDonald or making any other choices about his future with the team. They have expressed that they have zero tolerance for domestic violence. "The facts and the information, that's what we said from the beginning, yes," said Harbaugh, who like Baalke has daughters. He would not confirm an NFL Network report that the 49ers believe McDonald's version of what happened. "I trust the process. The reason I'm not answering is I'm not inserting myself into the process, one way or the other," Harbaugh said. "I think that's the right thing to do, respect the legal process, respect the due process. The authorities are at work. We've been pretty clear on how we're going about this." The 49ers have plenty of problems on the field to deal with this week, too. Tight end Vernon Davis injured his left ankle and was hobbling around on crutches in the locker room Sunday. He was having a scan and being examined Monday. San Francisco must try to regroup in a hurry before Sunday's game at first-place Arizona (2-0). With the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks losing at San Diego, the 49ers realize they let a key chance slip away early in the season. "Nobody feels really good about it. It's a bad feeling when you lose the game, no matter how you lose it," Harbaugh said. "Being ahead in the game and not finishing the game with a win leads to a very bad feeling after the game and today." Colin Kaepernick threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, including two fourth-quarter picks by rookie Kyle Fuller - the first two of his career, and on the prime-time stage - that led to Chicago touchdowns. After Fuller's first pick, Kaepernick was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for "inappropriate language," though he denied saying anything after the game. Harbaugh said he didn't hear anything. "Yeah, we'd like to find out about it," Harbaugh said of a possible inquiry to the league. "I didn't overhear that, they didn't come back and tell me." --- AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:37:00 +0000
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