49ers and their flexible code of conduct and punishment

This is my Friday column.

Whatever they need, however they can justify it.

On Aug. 31, 2014, 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence. He was throwing a birthday party at his house and allegedly got in a fight with his pregnant fiancé. Police arrived at 2:48 a.m., found bruises on the woman’s arms and neck and arrested McDonald.

He was never charged for the incident.

At the time, the Niners were under tremendous pressure from media and fans either to release McDonald immediately or put him on paid leave. But the Niners kept him. They needed him. He was one of their best players, integral to their defensive front seven, which was the core of the team.

“Right now it’s a legal matter,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said when asked why the Niners were allowing McDonald to play last season. “There is such a thing called due process and we intend on letting that play out.”

Whatever they need, however they can justify it.

On Dec. 17, 2014, news broke that McDonald was under investigation for sexual assault. He allegedly had sex with an unconscious woman at his house.

Hours after the report came out, the 49ers released McDonald even though he hadn’t been arrested or charged. A few days before, on December 14, the Niners had been eliminated from playoff contention after losing to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Niners didn’t need McDonald anymore. What they needed was an image boost.

“This is about a pattern of poor behavior,” Baalke said they day he cut McDonald. “We expect a lot from our players, hold them accountable for their actions.”

Whatever they need, however they can justify it.

On Aug. 26, 2015, Ahmad Brooks was charged with sexual battery. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office accused Brooks of groping the same unconscious woman McDonald allegedly raped. Brooks could face six months in jail if convicted.

Have the 49ers released Brooks? No, they need him. They recently released outside linebacker Aldon Smith after he was arrested for hit and run, DUI and vandalism — misdemeanors. The Niners could afford to cut Smith because they had Brooks, a Pro Bowler, a proven player who plays the same position. The Niners have no other Pro Bowl replacements at outside linebacker. Brooks is essential to the defense.

“The organization is aware that a misdemeanor charge has been filed against Ahmad Brooks stemming from a December 2014 matter,” Baalke said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. “We take any charge against a member of this organization seriously and are in communication with the NFL. Ahmad is returning home to California and will not participate in Saturday’s game.”

So Brooks will miss a preseason game, but he may play during the regular season — the Niners seem to be deferring to the NFL’s judgement. The Niners are in wait-and-see mode.

Whatever they need, however they can justify it.

Let’s recap: The Niners keep Brooks and remind us he was charged ONLY with a misdemeanor. But they cut Aldon Smith after a he was charged with a misdemeanor, and they cut McDonald before he was charged with anything.

What do the 49ers stand for?

Maybe they stand for second chances. Remember, the official reason for cutting McDonald was his “pattern poor behavior.” In 2014 he was investigated twice in five months, and in 2012 he was arrested for DUI.

Aldon Smith certainly had a pattern of poor behavior before the Niners cut him. He got arrested five times in four years.

But Brooks has a pattern of poor behavior, too. He got arrested for allegedly hitting former teammate Lamar Divens in the head with a bottle three times and then punching him in the face in 2013, although Brooks never was charged. In 2008 he accepted mediation on charges of punching a woman in the face. In 2005 he got kicked off the University of Virginia football team for unspecified off-field issues. And in 2013 he got arrested for possession of marijuana.

Those are five examples of poor behavior by Brooks.

What do the 49ers stand for? Whatever they need, however they can justify it.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

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  1. I agree that the NFL has always made these decisions based on “whatever they need, however they can justify it.”

    I also wonder why it took the DA eight months to bring a misdemeanor charge against Brooks.

    1. HT,

      I’m wondering the same thing. Perhaps the DA is using the sexual battery charge (that ordinarily might, or might not, be brought) as leverage to get Brooks to testify against McDonald.

    2. Bleacher Report, 8/24, on 49ers disappointments was informative Grant…It does appear that Teddy Bridgewater P-A-S-S-E-D Kaepernick as a pocket passer (probably by his senior year) and is ready for NFL opening day…However, Kap still has issues with his second and third options, consistently throwing rocket balls to them to make up for his lack of timing on their breaks…It’s going to be a long season and running the Stretch play for RB’s or the Read-Option can only carry you so far if you don’t have a passing game! Unless the 49ers break out the leather helmets to scare other teams off the field with their toughness, expect the other teams to show up on game day.

        1. Bay…nice to see you back…even though you’ve been spouting the same Kaeperscuses for the last three years. What bothers me the most, is that I DO believe that you are a tried and true 49er fanatic…as am I…but I have seen the light, and I don’t believe that CK is the ‘Moses’ who’s gonna’ lead us back to the promised land of Lombardis. He still hasn’t patched up the holes in his game…and now he’s 28….

    3. HTwaits,
      Because the DA is an attention whore, perhaps? Or, as I suspect, lack of evidence might be the explanation. Like I said in the previous blog, f*@K the DA.

  2. The main thing you are missing…repeat offenders. Aldon has had MULTIPLE run ins with the law for various things, and so enough became enough. McDonald had one issue and he stayed, but once that 2nd issue came up, he was gone. Brooks, as a 49ers, is going through his first issue but if he’s charged or has a 2nd issue arise, he will be gone. As will Bruce Miller, even though his law troubles shouldn’t even be in the court system, he broke his then gf’s phone during an argument, why the police and courts are/were involved is overkill.

    1. Also, I would take Aldon back, his issues have been selfdestructive to this point…but he must have a chaperon and has to seriously change his life.

      1. We’re calling the no-charges filed fight at a party an “incident”? Come on Cohn you and I both know there’s clearly a pattern here; multiple offenses get you canned AND the 49ers were well aware of this issue back from December. Let’s not act like this wasn’t in the realm of possibility. I’m willing to bet the NFL was briefed then too.

          1. Grant wait a week then write this article. Why rush to judgement? Write this same article next Thurs and I will stand with you. By waiting it will give the team a little time to investigate. No decisions that might radically effect a mans life should be made in a rushed manner. imho

      2. What was the first again? A fight with a former teammate? As YOU stated, he wasn’t ever charged for? So how many does Vernon Davis have now after all of fights HE’S had with former teammates? Shouldn’t an actual ARREST and charges filed be the barometer for strikes against a player? And Brooks have been dismissed from the team as of right now…a DAY after the charges were announced. In what way is this the same as it was with the Aldon or Mcdonald situations? Those guys were NEVER dismissed after their first charges…or accusations.And llastly, I’m curious as to how does anything he did in COLLEGE have to do with the Niners? Was he a part of the team THEN? Were they responsible for him back then too? He’s long removed from those issues…is he not?

      3. What other charges have been filed against. How many were filed against Smith. Lets see your list Grant. How many games has Brooks and Smith been suspended by the league or the team.

  3. We also need to differentiate between being arrested and being charged. People should not lose jobs for being arrested, being charged is a different manner.

  4. It’s as it should be. Whatever is in the best interest of the 49ers. If he gets in trouble again though, they’ll dam the Brooks rather than the creek….

    1. I beg to differ. The later in the camp, the less reason to not wait and let them be cut and picked up for free.
      The earlier the better, because they have more value.

  5. I like Harold’s energy and speed, but I’m not sure about his ability to set the edge on runs. I saw him get roller-skated by the tackle on a run play last week.

    It could come down to Lynch-Lemonier to start, with Harold on passing downs. Or… Mangini could scheme around Harold’s weaknesses.

    Harold’s size is similar to Von Miller. I hope he’s taking notes.

  6. Not exact quotes… in a recent interview someone asked Rex Ryan if talented players get more 2nd, 3rd chances. He said of course. He was very matter of fact about it.

    1. You’re absolutely right they do, just like in every other walk of life. Talent always gets more chances. The idea that the 9ers do what’s best for them blah blah…. Of course they do! Just like every other team. What are they suppose to do? Cut Brooks now too, start that no talent scrub Corey lemonade, have no pass rush and win 5 games? But hey at least we have our dignity? Since when did we start turning to the NFL for direction on how to live our lives, and morale leadership? We want to cut Brooks cuz he got into a fight with a teammate and didn’t even get charged. Then got a misdemeanor. He didn’t hit anyone, or rape anyone. Guys in the 80s and 90s were high on coke while playing games! They would do things are parties average people would be appalled at. Read Michael Irvin’s writing. This has going on forever, just now we have 24/7 coverage every time a guy drinks a beer. I don’t believe you should be touching passed out woman but this is the NFL, a league with a ton of guys who if they didn’t play pro football would probably otherwise be in jail anyway. Are we that surprised. Let’s stop pretending the 9ers are so much different than every other team. They just cut a guy who had hall of fame potential, what more do you want them to do?

      1. Anyone… Meaning woman cuz that’s the obvious hot button right now. Obviously he hit his teammate.
        Guys who play a violent game for a living fight. No shocker there

      2. Like Bill Parcells once said, “I treat everybody fairly. That doesn’t mean I treat everyone equally.” That meant that Lawrence Taylor had different standards off the field from special teams players just like he had different standards on the field.

  7. If Niners need another image boost, they should give Michael Sam a tryout, with no guarantees.They have a free roster spot, and he could be a PR bonanza not only for the Niners, but for the entire NFL. The Niners could atone for the past anti gay rhetoric, and make the SF Gay community very happy by championing an underdog.

      1. As a strategy, it would divert attention away from all the bad news. Niners have a free spot. It would help take the spotlight away from Hayne. Of course, he would be expected to be TC fodder, and be one of the first cuts. However, he was playing recently, so he should be in shape. I know Baalke likes those Missouri players. It would be a pure PR stunt unless he shines, and have many positives and would not hurt to try. NFL might look favorably on the Niners for emphasizing diversity and atoning for past wrongs.

    1. Sure lets bring in “Rudy” that would really be a feel good story. Better yet lets get “Rudy” to become a transsexual then if would really make a lot of people happy.

  8. I must say, I’m not really with the 49ers on this one. They cut McDonald and Smith for their pattern of poor behaviour. Brooks has hardly been a great role model in his time here. And last season he also turned up out of shape to start the season and clashed with coaches – while not anything involving the police, it is another example of a player that makes questionable decisions that hurt the team.

    Hard to justify not getting rid of him, unless as Grant says it is purely about the team needing a starting OLB so they are letting it ride.

    1. Perhaps they have a firewall between on-field incidents and off-field. So the two effectively do not cross over and add to the other.

    2. I’m in agreement with you on this Scooter. That said, I think we should wait to reach a conclusion until we have enough of the facts.

      1. I’m not jumping to any conclusions, Mid. I’ve no idea if he’s guilty or not. I’m basing this on the same rationale as why McDonald and Smith were let go. Pattern of poor behaviour/ questionable decisions. Whether Brooks gets in trouble for this from a legal point of view, hard to argue a questionable decision was made.

        1. Scooter,
          I would disagree on this. While the fact that he was recently charged regarding this incident makes it news. The incident was very public and the 49ers and everyone knew about this months ago. I would assume they did their due diligence some time back and unless new information has come to light they should proceed as they have.
          Simply put if the niners treat him as they have Ray and Aldon, he should have received a warning when that incident first occurred. And if he is in the news again for anything similar I would expect him to be cut immediately.
          Bringing up an old case shouldn’t get him canned unless sufficient evidence is provided with it.

          1. Shoupbj- I think you are on point. They must have felt that the incident as they heard it did not justify a suspension. I think the circumstances might play a big part. The criminal charge came after the civil court case was filed. Often in civil court the attorneys for the claimant add as many individuals to sue as possible to expand the possible payoff. Brooks probably has more money than McDonald. I would like to know just what grouping constitutes in this particular case.

            It seems that most of the incidents in respect to the team have come as a result of alcohol abuse. There seem to be entirely too many players on the team that spend their free time getting blasted. Probably a holdover from the stupidity of college frat parties. Get a group together with the same problem and mindset and they will reinforce each other negative behavior. They need to weed out this core of drinkers if they can. The league does all this testing for Grass but has a different standard for alcohol consumption until it has negative consequences. Alcohol can make even sane people do stupid things.

          2. That’s pretty much what Coach was saying; “we’ve known about this”
            Agree with Shoup.
            A conviction is bad PR, especially in a crime against a woman, so could tip the equation, but I think the team has eyes wide open.
            For context:
            If Grant stood accused of some crime, I’m quite sure the PD would protect the privacy his personnel file is untitled to. I guess that would be “Lack of transperancy” on their part.
            Lack of moral fiber too? Enquiring minds want to know.

        2. They should have taken action at the time they dumped McDonald because they were both showing repeated bad judgment. Brooks clobbered a bubble player after a night of drinking where the guy he hit several times was the designated driver. They were back at Brooks’ house and he wanted his car keys. Bad judgment drunk when he had shown good judgment sober.

          It was an attack not a fight — takes two to fight.

          1. I can’t fault your logic. I just think to do so now makes no sense as it’s not a new incident and the action would indicate they are more concerned with publicity than in being fair or sending a consistent message.

      2. Sorry Scooter. That comment was more meant for everyone on the blog. My apologies for it seeming to be directed towards you.

  9. Grant, next time you do a sit down in depth interview with Jed York where he answers all your questions because he is the one we should hold accountable, can you have him spell out the team’s conduct policy?

  10. Listening to Better Rivals podcast. For me, Neumann made an interesting comment regarding Hayne and Hunter. If it comes down to having to pick one, he would pick Hayne. He says the team should ask the question: does Hunter provide something that you can’t get from any of the other RBs. He doesn’t think so. He feels Hayne does provide something: namely starting field position. But he is not worth keeping on the 53 as a running back option (if that were all he provided).

    He also said something earlier that although he pretty much quantified it, I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has actually seen the statistics. He said that an average offense that starts their first drive ten yards closer to the endzone scores as many points as a good offense. If true, that is huge.


    1. cubus- Good point. Thats the same rational that I myself have used on a number of sites on thread in respect to this choice. Field position makes a huge difference. In fact the team of 2011 benefited greatly by the field position provided by their superior special teams. The special team production decline seemed to parallel the decline in the offenses effectiveness in subsequent years. You don’t even need to validate that conclusion through stats, its common sense that it would make a big difference to teams that did not already possess an over powering offense.

    2. I think too many people are hyped up over Haynes’ returns during the preseason. He has the makings of a good returner, but he’s not there yet. He also doesn’t offer much as a RB as his big runs have come from big openings created at the line against third stringers and scrubs. He also lacks the tackling technique required to play on coverage for STs. Considering all of this, I believe Hunter is still the better option.

      1. If he had made one or two good returns I’d agree with you, but he’s had five punt returns in pre-season, as the #1 PR, and had five good run backs. That’s unlikely to be coincidence or luck.

        I’m not sure what you mean when you say “he’s not there yet” as a returner. What is he doing as a returner that you’d like to see him change?

        Regarding his tackling technique, sorry, I disagree there too. Rugby league players are taught how to tackle. The technique used in a rugby league tackle is good technique in the NFL. In some respects he probably has better technique than a lot of other STs players, particularly guys that come from the offensive side of the ball.

      2. What is he doing as a returner that you’d like to see him change?

        Less hesitation and bending a little more at the waist.

        Regarding his tackling technique, sorry, I disagree there too.

        This was something pointed out by Barrows if I recall right. I’ll try to find the article.

        1. “Less hesitation and bending a little more at the waist.”

          Can’t say as I’ve seen a whole lot of hesitation from him at all. He’s done a good job avoiding the first man, and quickly gets up to full speed to get upfield.

          The bending at the waist, or staying low, is far more important when looking to get through small gaps as a RB. In open field such as returning punts it really isn’t that big a deal. If his biggest issue as a returner is running upright, he’ll be fine.

          The comments from Barrows you may be referring to was this one in his recap of the game against the Cowboys:

          “Not to be forgotten: Hayne also played a bit on kickoff coverage, and he had a nice hit on the Cowboys returner in the fourth quarter. If there’s a critique of Hayne it’s this: Instead of lowering is pad level and squaring his shoulders on runs between the tackles, he seems to be lowering one shoulder and turning head as he approaches the pile. That is, he’s not looking where he’s going, which is a bit dangerous.”

          His only negative comment of Hayne’s technique was to do with this running style when playing as a RB.

          1. Is he worth a full time spot as a special teamer? If that’s all he is capable of achieving then yes he makes the team.
            But if he is being considered for a special team ace and 3rd string RB, we need to have a discussion.
            It’s really Mike Davis or Hayne. Pick one

          2. Hmm…so it wasn’t Barrows that said something about his tackling technique then. Someone mentioned in an article. I’ll try to find it.
            Right now I’m seeing too much fanboying over a raw rookie because of his returns during the preseason that reminds me of Clayton, Coffee, and Dixon all over again. What I hinge Haynes’ chances of making the team is if he can play with the starters if need be and if he is a game changer. Right now the answer to both is no, so keeping him on the roster solely because he is good in the return game doesn’t make sense.

            1. He’s been the first string punt returner in both preseason games. So he’s hanging with the starters quite nicely.

              The excitement over those guys you mentioned was based on how they looked against backups. I’m not trying to suggest Hayne should be considered for the 53 based on how he has looked as a RB against backups. I agree that is over-hyping how he is going. But as a punt returner he is doing excellent work, and that is his ticket onto the 53.

              If Kassim Osgood can find his way to a 10 year career then keeping a rookie on the roster because they look like a potentially excellent return man and show promise at another position makes perfect sense, even if they are raw.

            2. Mid,

              Hayne has been a revelation in the return game. He has a natural feel for it and that makes up for his inexperience.

              He has to continue working on his RB skills but I don’t think they’ll use him in that role very much to begin with anyway.

              He is going to make this team based on some great STs work including coverage teams where he was first down the field both times he lined up on them.

              1. Do you give a guy a roster spot because he is good in the return game? Meaning mostly likely you will have to part with one of your draft picks within the RB unit. Like Prime said, do they cut Davis a 4th round pick? Or the vet K. Hunter? What about Gaskins and Millard?

                I love the story behind Hayne but you have to consider do the Niners keep all those RB’s or use the roster spots for another OLB, RT, and WR?

                The other argument is the Niners have not had a bonfide return man in a long time. Tough decisions, a tough year all around for this team.

              2. FDM,

                Hayne is going to make the team as a STs specialist imo. Think Osgood as Scooter mentioned or Bubba. They will keep all the RBs including Davis.

              3. Only a complete fool would not give the man a roster spot as their returner….

                The team wants their players to be more versatile. So unless Haynes can beat out one of the RBs or has someone ahead of him on the depth chart traded away I don’t foresee Haynes making the final roster.

              4. Since there’s no player named “Haynes” on the team I would not expect “Haynes” to make the final roster either.

              5. Oh, I just thought you were obsessed with your tightey whiteys. Oh wait, that’s Hanes. Screw you Michael Jordan!

              6. You make a roster spot for a player that can give you starting field advantage. Especially if that guy is only scratching the surface of what he can do as a RB. He’s been learning the game for just 4 months and in two preseason games is the second leading rusher across all teams.

                Yes, its only preseason and by no means should anybody take that to mean he’s good enough to play RB in the NFL right now, but for a guy that has been learning the game for such a short period to be doing that does suggest there is enough talent there to warrant keeping him if he can also play as your primary return man while he learns.

              7. Too early to tell. I anticipate the Niners will make a lot of roster moves between now and opening day. A bunch of NFL teams will dispose of good players and the Niners will, as usual, dump a bunch of good players into that pile, and pick up others from that pile. Hayne will not be with the Niners on opening day.

            3. So he’s hanging with the starters quite nicely.

              I am referring to the offense.

              The comparison to Osgood doesn’t work for me because Osgood could fill in if needed at WR, and I don’t see that in Haynes yet.

              1. Osgood had 45 career receptions in 12 seasons, 28 of which came in his first 2 seasons. Teams found it quickly he couldn’t fill in at WR, at least not serviceably. If you were relying on him at WR, you were in deep doo doo. I think Hayne could play RB as or near as badly as Osgood could play WR.

        2. Mid:

          What you call hesitation, I see as pacing his speed to synchronize with the blocking. I’ve watched his punt returns several times now, and I see a guy who slows down a bit to allow the blocking to set up. Once it has then he shoots through the hole. Then in a couple of cases he slowed down a bit again to assess the further downfield blocking and/or allow it to setup so that he again could work his way through a hole. He doesn’t just go full speed – it seems to me he is using his superior field vision to actually setup a run back.

  11. There is a reason why many state judicial systems are moving away from “one-size-fits-all’ sentencing guidelines and moving towards evidence-based risk assessment sentencing. While strict sentencing guidelines play well in politics, they are antithetical to rational philosophies of punishment.

    The same is true of organizations adopting one-size-fits-all discipline – such disciplinary schema are based on the arbitrary application of abstracted, a priori punishments that do not take into account differential circumstances. Suggesting that the 49ers should treat disparate offenders as if they are the same is not only contrary to how well-run organizations handle disciplinary action, it is the same type of pseudo-intellectual reactionary thinking that leads otherwise sensible people to succumb to mob-think.

  12. You media guys/gals sit on the outside with limited information on behavior situations like these and yet make it your business to question the integrity of team management .. based on limited information. Thats okay in my opinion when questioning the games and players performance in the games as everything is right there for everyone to see. There, its okay to sound like an under informed idiot. Its a game after all.

  13. These articles about the moralizing is such BS. It is nothing more than a opportunity for pathetic sportwriters to lash out at sports franchises that treat them as peons.

    Let’s just state the truth. NO ONE CARES. The niners could be full of all rapists- like serial rapists- and we would all still watch. We care about the football- nothing else. And if you say you do care- why did you watch last year when mcdonald played? Own up to it- you dont really care- we watch the NFL because we want to see football played at the highest levels- DUI’s? Child abuse? Dog abuse? girlfriend abuse? WE DONT CARE. Unless there is a murder- we could care less.

    I wish the niners would just call the publics bluff… Code of conduct? Unless the person is in jail for murder- they are going to play. The niners are a football playing franchise- if you want moralizing attend church on sundays instead of watching 9+ hours of football on sundays.

    If they just said that- I promise to go out and buy a new niners cap right now.

    1. Donte stallworth did kill a man and came back and played. Still no one cared.
      Some would argue Ray Lewis killed 2 men and is regularly celebrated.

      1. We all watched the super bowl(s) that Ray lewis the murderer played in. Grant Cohn even watched it…. he wrote and supported a super bowl in which a MURDERER played football!!!

    2. Big suede would you root for a child molester, or is it just murders that you have a problem with? How bout if the rape victim was a member of your family? No problem as long as we are winning?

      1. Well- if he was a convicted child molester- obviously he would be in prison. But if the player isnt in prison- sure.

        If you claim you would stop watching- you are a liar. Even if a child molester were on the niners- you would still come here a read articles and watch all the games.

        We have a court system. The NFL shouldnt be a super-court that punishes above and beyond what our legal system deems fit. The NFL is about football- PERIOD

          1. Then stop dude- apparently the niners are keeping a indicted sex offender on the roster…. stop watching the niners, stop commenting here- show us all how righteous you are.

            1. Quit twisting things around to suit you. We don’t have enough information to even attempt to pass; and even if we did, we have a system that can do that for us. Act like an arse only if Brooks is found guilty.

              1. He was indicted of a crime that will make him a sex offender- that is a factual statement. I am not making anything up, I am just pointing out the hypocracy of grant cohn and any other person on this board attempting to moralize or ask the niners to suspend a player.

                The customers of football don’t care about morals- they just want the best football players playing football. They can be great people or lousy people- but if they play on the niners we root for them all the same.

              2. Being indicted and found guilty are two very different things.
                This doesn’t just happen in footbal or even sports alone Suede. Morals have been thrown out when it involves certain people in society, and there is no sign of that changing. That said, it is always best to give someone accused of a crime, whether heinous or petty, the benefit of the doubt unless there is evidence to the contrary.

            2. Niners did play Aldon and Ray because JH wanted to win too badly. Now that JT is coach, they have different priorities.
              Football is just like the rest of America. There are the good, the bad, and the ugly. Putting players on a pedestal allows them to become enamored with their own self worth, and think they are above the law. Sometimes they need to be accountable for their actions. Whining that a murderer got away with it so all murderers, drunk drivers, pot smokers, women beaters can play because of a travesty of justice, does not make sense.
              In this age of tweets and cell phones with cameras, abhorrent behavior cannot be swept under the rug. Enabling bad behavior because of idol worship just demeans the game.

              1. “Niners did play Aldon and Ray because JH wanted to win too badly. Now that JT is coach, they have different priorities.” … sebnynah

                How have Jed York and Baalke changed their priorities?

        1. “The NFL shouldnt be a super-court that punishes above and beyond what our legal system deems fit.”

          Just my two cents: left to their own devices, most NFL owners and the league does not want to be involved as a “super-court.”
          However, with the revenue streams involved and the big time sponsors, the NFL/owners wants to maintain a certain image, and to keep the politicians at bay.

    3. Suede, are you serious? Football is a great, entertaining game to watch. But knowing that people who commit crimes is whos playing it while making millions, Id say that a lot of us would care not to watch! Cmon man!

      1. Why did you watch last year prime? I have read your clueless remarks for years- did you not watch the niners/ravens super bowl? I expressly remember that you did- did you not know a murderer was on the field? I did…. I watched the super bowl anyway- and so did millions of others. Cmon man!

        1. So you are saying the NFL has criminals in abundance playing but have not been convicted of their crimes? And we are all at fault for supporting this ridiculous idea you have come up with?
          Suede go back to not posting cause every time you come on here you are completely useless!

          1. Prime

            What Suede is saying is not so far out of the realm of possibility, especially taking into account the remarks by Chris Carter at NFL Rookie Symposium that new members of the league should choose “Fall Guys” to take the fall for their crimes.

            1. Sorry but I’m not one of “those guys/fans” that would watch football with knowing that they were potential criminals playing while getting paid millions of dollars.
              Not sure what freak show would but then again who knows!

              1. But Vick was found guilty and did his time. The system works.
                So of course I’ll be watching.
                But if you and Suede know of any fugitives lacing them up you should probably contact the local authorities!

              2. Lol naaa. You would watch convicted felons who should have been in prison for way longer if they weren’t athletes. And turn in if one was running the field who hasn’t been convicted… Yet! I see. You aren’t going anywhere. The Pitt fans will be watching Vick carry a clipboard for 16 games. Petition or not. He’s right. No matter what these clowns get away with or are convicted of. You aren’t going to stop watching. Again you’re willing to watch a scumbag dog killer even though he spent two years in prison and you consider that “paying his debt” when any normal idiot would be doing 10 at least. Riiiiiiight! Stay tuned. You’re hooked and moral has no place in addiction.

              3. Prime- I will say it one more time. Ray lewis murdered two people- It is a known objective fact. (and lewis apparently followed the chris carter playbook of having two fall guys with him) Ray lewis played in a super bowl with the niners that we all watched. We all watched a murderer play football for entertainment purposes.

                So why are you acting like you would turn off football knowing you watched potential criminals- you already have Prime.

              4. People also like to watch train wrecks. Just human nature. Just because the nation is voyeuristic does not mean that abhorrent behavior should be tolerated.

        2. Suede…. Gotta hand it to you. You obviously don’t care about being politically correct and keep it real.
          I agree with you 100 percent. Because the truth doesn’t hurt me. I have learned to accept it years ago. We are a nation who actually believe presidents, government, and whatever social media has to say. And if you are on the opposite side of the masses. You’re looked down upon. Why do you think trump is hated…. He’s only saying what most think but are afraid of speaking because they don’t want to be persecuted.
          Someone brought up we should sign Sam… Not for football reasons alone, but to make a community of choice “feel good” it’s folks like that you will not be able to change minds and hearts of. Be you bro. I applaud your honesty and balls to say it.

          Now as far as Brooks and the Niners. I believe he will be gone. If the DA saw VIDEO evidence to bring up a charge. No way he’s getting off. Someone brought up a good point about leverage to testify against McDonald. That’s where the plea will come in and he will get counseling and probation. The 49ers will have to cut him if he’s convicted. Even on a plea. If they know this is on video before a trial. He will be gone. It’s a matter of time. So get use to seeing someone else setting that edge Niner fans.
          York MUST stop this free will attitude outside of the work place.
          And I mean dumb decisions and how they will not be tolerated. Enough is enough!

          1. Suede– While what you state has a modicum of truth to it, you can not just assume that everyone thinks or would do like you would. Not everyone is alike. While our present society has been indoctrinated into accepting an extreme philosophy of tolerance, that does not make it right or ethical. There is a difference between being tolerant and not having values. Some people will wait until the negative effects of the lack of ethics become extreme till they see the light. Just because everyone does and accepts something does not mean we all should or would.

            1. a modicum of truth? I am pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of everyone on this board. The truth is- you dont care, if you did- you would have stopped watching football long ago.

              1. Suede is correct. I seem to recall 40K plus SF fans root on a game cheating, pill popping, first rate A-hole in Barry Bonds and nobody cared.

            2. It’s a hard truth willtalk…
              The the numbers for the NFL have grown and so have the felonies from players. Women beaters, dog killers, rapists, murderers. I’ll say the integrity of the NFL is shot. Heck it took how many years of players beating their wives for the NFL to campaign against it?
              And yet America still watches. Even with second, third or fourth chances. That’s the reality.
              Teams like ours have that chance to give players 3 chances because the NFL is soft on their money makers when they break the law.
              Grant would be better off questioning the moral of the NFL over a local team he hammers daily.

              1. Ninermd

                …I salute both you and Big Suede for your intended integrity…WHICH IS TRUE. but the league has to have some integrity also. You would need to have every team in the league agree to NOT sign a player who has committed some level of criminal behavior…thus collusion (also criminal behavior) Otherwise we’d have one team signing all the bad apples, resembling the 60’s and 70’s Raiders, and winning ALL of the Super bowls. This of course would not set well with the other 31 teams owners who don’t want to see their stadiums empty. Quite a conflagration…let’s just take what we have and try to make corrections as we go….

              2. I absolutely agree Oregon.
                Ribico…. That’s obviously your view on PC. Hope you don’t get your feelings hurt easily.
                As for me. I’ll always call it like I see it. Some can’t handle the truth. You can keep the “nice guy” PC life. I don’t live in candy land. To each their own brotha!

              3. Hurt feelings? Nah, md. You go bro. Like I said, it’s a perfect gauge of determining the jackasses in your midst.

          2. >>politically correct

            Political correctness is just societal peer-pressure that helps prevent a-holes from revealing their a-hole-ness to the world. If a-holes want to “strike a blow against political correctness” and thus show themselves for who they are, by all means let them go ahead.

            Suede, you will find miscreants in all walks of life. Should we boycott *everything* too?

            1. I don’t understand how my point is not getting across.

              We shouldnt boycott anything- we should just admit to ourselves that we watch the NFL to watch great football players playing football. And we should acknowledge that the niners first job is to win- winning is the only thing we really care about.

              Keep Ahmad brooks playing this year. Resign Aldon Smith after he gets suspended by the league. As long as a great football player is not in prison- he is welcome on the niners- because while we may grumble about a lack of a “conduct policy.” We will keep watching.

              What we won’t watch is a team that kicks Ahmad Brooks and thereby loses a proper pass rush. If the niners struggle to 0-8…. even with a team full of choir boys- we will NOT be watching. If the team sucks- we wont buy niner gear and won’t go to the games- because truthfully- winning is all that matters.

              1. “I don’t understand how my point is not getting across.”

                Some people can’t comprehend reality. This is the game/business of football, where the billionaire owners are worse criminals than the millionaire athletes, but most people don’t notice.

              2. Suede says “I don’t understand how my point is not getting across”

                Maybe a moral compass is in order here? We watch football because its sport. Its entertainment. Telling your kids, you know the future of the world that football is potentially played by unknown criminals is okay because as you state, “winning is the only thing we care about”
                Good God man, do you hear yourself think?

              3. He does not hear himself think because if he did, he would realize that it’s not okay for criminals to be playing a sport and getting paid to do it. Who thinks like that? I’ll tell you, SOCIOPATHS!!!!!

              4. FDM- I am stating a fact, not a personal opinion. Criminals play in the NFL- ratings have never been higher. If the facts were different- and ratings went down when players were committing crimes and still on the team- then i would state facts that i guess you would be more receptive to.

                Secondly- If you are trying to teach your kids morals using sports stars as role models- I question your parenting skills. I thought we all learned that in the early 90’s with Charles Barkley Nike commercials. Good god man!

              5. Comprehension is scarce lately Suede. That’s the party that sucks sometimes when you tell it like it is. The finger will be pointed to you although you might not feel the same way. Some people just get their feelings hurt with the hardcore truth. No wonder kids are getting trophies for showing up! Smh!

              6. “FDM- I am stating a fact, not a personal opinion. Criminals play in the NFL-”

                Can you provide some evidence of your so called fact that there are criminals playing in the NFL?

              7. The conviction against Hardy was thrown out. He was not formally charged. Therefore, not a criminal. Did he do it? Who knows. But once again, please provide facts of known criminals playing in the NFL.

              8. “we should just admit to ourselves that we watch the NFL to watch great football players playing football.”

                is a long ways away from the judgmental:

                “I am pointing out the inherent hypocrisy of everyone on this board.”

                Tell you what Suede, I’ll decide if I’m being a hypocrite or not.

    1. Yeah, he looked good against the Cowboys. But its always hard to get a good gauge on these guys playing at the end of preseason games as they are mostly against guys that won’t end up on 53 man rosters this year. With Brooks not playing against Denver we may get a more extended look at Rush against some better competition. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

      1. Exactly. He’ll be playing more and if the Broncos play most of their starting offense for a half or so, he should get some action against them.

  14. Grant, you’re starting to piss me off. One thing I value is old school journalism: not this yellow crap you try to shove down our throats. Your hateful, cynical summary is a bit too liberal in cherry-picking only the details you want to emphasize while leaving out actual facts. Remember, as bad as Ray McDonald was, the police could not file charges because no witness corroborated that an actual abuse had happened. Even though under questioning, both Ray and his fiancée’s accounts didn’t come close to matching, they still could not indict Ray. Not on Aug 31 of 2014 anyway. And from there, you continue your rant with the belief that you can read Baalke’s mind. Here’s news for you: you can’t! You can read anyone’s mind, let alone Trent Baalke’s. The 49ers have suspended Brooks indefinitely. Which means it will be for a very long time, especially since the legal proceedings could very well go on and on for months if not also years. By the time Glora Allred finishes getting her client a pound of both players’ flesh, plus their money, the NFL will be done with them. Not just the 49ers, but the league itself. Oh, but you don’t really care about that. Your sole agenda is to rant on the 49ers management. Why?

    1. Just trying to get hits since he is not important enough to follow the team to Denver like the big boys. Don’t take him too seriously…

      1. Read his articles on BR. They are much more objective and far less incitive. He can write good articles when he chooses too.

        1. You’re right. He has been known to write highly objective and incisive articles. Still, once in a while, he plays the wanna-be provocateur with highly meanspirited and slanted sweeping generalizations, which are just meant to get at people’s ire. Pretty pathetic agenda, if you ask me.

      2. GC is not some toadie who writes trite puff pieces, like some of the “reporters” who cover the team. He does not have importance in your eyes. I, however, like good writing.

            1. Actually, i should qualify that. Killion has written some nice vignettes on some Giants players, and that is her strength. Her football acumen is nil. She goes full attack mode, but maybe she thinks she needs to display bravado in order to be taken seriously.
              And she is better than TK.

          1. Well, I know bad writing, which is exactly what TK produces. He had the audacity to claim that Jed and Baalke were at fault for being so lenient with the players. However, it was JH who played Aldon and demanded that RM play, even while under suspicion.
            TK is formulaic, and dredges up sore wounds just for another excuse to attack Jed. Its getting old.

    2. Don’t kill the messenger. Grant is writing about this because it is relevant, and needs to be talked about. He points out the ugly truth, and people should focus on the message, and not the messenger.

  15. Frank Gore on Andrew Luck; “He lets me know when [there’s] something I don’t see. He’s just different. How he’s in the huddle, off the field, in the meetings, he runs it. He runs the show, even in the off-season, he ran it. One day he had running backs, the next day he has receivers. He’s just different. He’s a football God.”

    Says a lot.

      1. Shame Zach couldn’t have ended up in a situation like Grayson did. If you’re gonna be stuck behind someone at least let it be a future HoF player. The perfect situation for Zach would have been for him to be drafted in Denver.

        Oh well.

        1. Bay…nice to see you back…even though you’ve been spouting the same Kaeperscuses for the last three years. What bothers me the most, is that I DO believe that you are a tried and true 49er fanatic…as am I…but I have seen the light, and I don’t believe that CK is the ‘Moses’ who’s gonna’ lead us back to the promised land of Lombardis. He still hasn’t patched up the holes in his game…and now he’s 28….

        2. C4C

          …Why not now ? the sooner we could pick up Glennon or Mettenberger, the sooner we could make us of our new $40 million receiver…I think that Mettenberger has the stronger arm

            1. First it was Fales, then Glennon and now the Mettenberger with cheese. I’d get outta their dreams and maybe into the Carr and cross the Bridge-over troubled-Water….

          1. Neither team has any motivation to trade their respective back up rookies. They are able to keep them on the cheap for now and unless someone throws a bunch of high picks at them they’ll be inclined to hold onto them just in case the current starter goes down or turns into a dud.

              1. Since neither team has any motivation to trade their player it would take picks that would generally be seen higher then what you would pay for a back up QB to free them from their respective teams.

              2. I think you could get Glennon today for a 2nd round pick, if anyone was that desperate for a backup….

      2. He didn’t include another pass caught by White from kaep, a 50 yarder that would have been a TD in a game. That made two on the day they other one also a long pass but from Gabbert. White is continuing his ascent. I hope they give him some snaps with the first team for a change.

    1. Agreed.
      This is why Luck was seen as the best prospect since Manning he is a savant with supreme athleticism. With that said some of this could also be a reflection of how dominating of a figure Harbaugh was in SF.

      1. Shoup

        It could also be used as evidence that Harbaugh is no more a QB-whisperer than Dingleberry. Luck made Luck, not Harbaugh.

    2. Luck also left that diploma mill Stanford a year early with a degree in some form of Architecture. Before that he and his father had the sense to select a school outside of Texas where he could also get an education.

    3. Yet in the playoffs, he was tentative and inaccurate. Sounds mortal to me. Maybe Frank will provide the ground game they lacked last season.

      1. Frank Gore was one hellava player, but I never felt he was the smartest tool in the shed. I would take his statements out of context. A player in a new system who see’s the positives as contrasted by the restricted system from which he came.

        1. Willtalk don’t mistake an inability to express himself for ignorance. I forget who it was but an ex 49er said Frank Gore was the only non QB he had ever heard of who knew every positions responsibility on every single play. If you played the game even at the high school level then you know what an amazing intellectual feat that is.

    4. Yep! Gore’s only mean-spirited comments are the backhand side of his praise to other players and coaches. I remember him giving high praise to Norv Turner while saying nothing at all about his current Offensive Coordinator at the time: Jimmy Raye.

      1. Von Miller and TJE are best buddies. bet he would approve of the swap.
        Denver plays the 4-3, but those players are talented enough to play the 3-4, too. Mangini wants to utilize the hybrid tweeners like Seattle does.

  16. Just wondering…
    How are we possibly going to have success running the ball this year when EVERY team will be putting 8 in the box since Kaep can’t hit receivers past 20 yards?
    Doesn’t matter if it’s Hyde, Hunter, Bush or friggin AP for that matter!
    Look for the SS playing up in the box on 1st and 2nd down on EVERY possession until Kaep can start hooking up with his WRs–not just Vernon on a seam route once in a while–the WRs need to stretch the field.
    Kaep has to be able to go through his progressions and get them the ball without panicking in the pocket and, equally as important, without locking in on them like a Phalanx system.
    What’s Torrey Smith good for at this point?
    Money down the drain, if you ask me.
    Flash80 in his prime + the stickum couldn’t help this passing game right now.
    Everything is riding on Kaep’s lights coming on…EVERYTHING.
    Kaep sucks=passing game sucks=running game sucks=team sucks.
    And 5 FGs a game won’t help either.
    Just saying…

    1. Rain getting to you, Robert? Cheer up, bruh.
      You ain’t wrong, but I heard CK was hitting some long strikes against the Broncos today.

      1. Brotha tuna- Speaking of rain- don’t rain on his parade by quoting facts that might contradict his perspectives. He needs the emotional outlet of projecting all negatives on Kaep for his own emotional well being. Haters need to project the negatives from their own lives upon an outside target.

      2. Actually, it is.
        We may even get hit by a hurricane soon (see: Ignacio).
        That’d be good for the other teams in CFC’s FF league though.
        Having a dominant player out of commission will bode well for the less-talented of the lot.

        1. Yeah Robert, I’ve been watching your weather as we’re headed to the Big Island in a couple of weeks to visit my sister. Moist.

    2. Timing is everything. Just after you wrote, Kaep throws a TD to Celek for a 50 yard strike. I thought Hawaiians were into rainbows.

    1. It seems to be a tale of two uncertainties.

      The corner position opposite Brock is unsettled because they are trying to find the best fit. I doesn’t seem like any one of Reaser, Wright, Acker or Johnson is stinking out the joint. It seems like they’re all just getting snaps so Tomsula can have a good look. I’m thinking Wright starts week 1.

      The right side of the O-line is another story. It seems like Tomsula is grasping at combinations of players . MM and Thomas seems disappointing at RG. All the right side players seem to be getting whipped in pass pro. Not good heading into the 3rd preseason game.

      1. Brodie- I just hope this right side of the O-line doesn’t become a replay of the WR situation in 2013, when the team didn’t bring in any viable replacements when Crabs got injured. They claimed they were satisfied that the players they had could fill or develop into players to fill that void. That turned into a disaster that had long reaching negative consequences for the staff and certain players. If they waited too long, as in 2013, then the only options they will bring in will be other teams rejects at best. Unless they make a trade but there have been a lot of O-ling injuries on other teams already so that will make the demand higher.

      2. Staley and Boone apparently enjoy playing next to each other. So I suppose that the Niners will have a TE providing some additional blocking on the right side. Wonder if we will some see substantial number of 12 personnel packages, esp. on third downs, with MacDonald/Celek blocking and Davis running routes.

    1. It began with someone suggesting the 49ers should bring in a token player for the PR boost that would bring in the San Francisco Homosexual community.

      1. How about another one.
        After an 8 sack day, the Niners need to do something drastic. Why not invite Jonathan Martin back for a tryout. He still has talent, but his psyche is pretty beat up. Maybe he can find his mojo back in SF with Tomsula providing guidance and inspiration. Offer him a league minimum contract so there is little risk.
        J Martin needs to prove the bullies wrong by persevering in the face of daunting odds. If he quits, the bullies win.

        1. Martin is not that good of a football player. Plus, if you were paying attention, you’d know he has a serious knee injury.

            1. You’re right, back problem. I need to pay better attention.

              But the fact remains, he can’t help the team on the field.

              1. I apologize if I offend anyone, and especially Jonathan Martin if he takes offense, but maybe it was a backbone problem.

  17. I surmise that Coach Tomsula’s strategy will be to play the hot hand. Fly by the seat of his pants, Go for it and Bludgeon.

  18. From MM: Gary Kubiak on Hayne and our other backs:
    “He’s a big guy, I know that,” Kubiak said. “I’ll tell you, their backs in general, I know for us linebacker-wise, we had a tough time covering them yesterday (Wednesday). He’s a good-looking player. In this league everybody is always looking for those type of guys if they can turn into good football players. It sure looks like they’re headed in the right direction with that one.”

  19. I am heartened to learn that they conducted themselves like pros and there were no fights. Each side seemed to heap praise on the opposition.
    I am concerned about the 8 sacks. O line needs to generate teamwork and synergy. Looks like Kaep has worked on his deep passes, and the Niners pass defenders had interceptions.
    Some say it was sloppy. Maybe the loss of Brooks affected them.

  20. I am merely being lazy here, but I defer to the expertise of this blog for an answer. Does the new CBA require the NFL to defer punishment until a conclusion is made in a case through the courts? Or are they able to command immediate suspensions based on a charge being filed?

  21. Geeze Grant, beat a dead horse lately. You and Tim K. have worn this subject out.

    The bottom line is very simple. The 49ers are no different than any other NFL organization. First and foremost, Jed York and Trent Baalke are going to what the perceive to be IN THE BEST INTEREST of the team. It’s the way the world turns. It’s the way of the world. Anyway you want to put it, the organization is going to make decisions based on what it perceives to be best for the organization. Jed York, like him or hate him, is really not any different than Robert Craft or Jerry Jones or any other NFL owner. You may as well write your article with one of these, __________ insert name here. Sure, certain individuals get treated differently that other depending on multiple factors. Again, It’s simply the way it is. There really isn’t a story here. There is nothing new or unique here, so move on. Keep moving, there is nothing here to see.

    1. This post is topical and relevant. I am glad he wrote it. Putting your fingers in your ears and trilling la la la will not make it disappear.

    2. Grant should be insulted by your associating him with Kawakami.
      Kawakami is a hack, and Grant is Steinbeck while Kawakami is the Enquirer in comparison.

      1. OK, fair enough, the Tim K. comment was a little below the belt. I only used him as example because every piece he writes these days seem to have an agenda, and all of the drivle is based on the idea that Tim is convinced that if the organization isn’t reacting the way he believes they should, it’s a sign that they are making things up as they go. Somewhere along the way, Grant has gone from football reporter to mind reader. The irony here is that people accuse Grant of having ulterior motives, or an agenda on this site and this article, among other Grant has written, seems to be calling out the 49ers for the exact same thing. Maybe irony isn’t the right word, maybe hypocrisy is.

        On another site, Matt M. just published a piece responsible piece this morning, which actually goes to the heart of where Ahmad stands with the organization and why the team believes they have done their due diligence and are taking the appropriates steps in regards to this and incident. And Matt is able to all of this based on specific information he has garnered, not based on generalities and innuendoes. And that’s what I would consider topical and relevant. Not the same old, one size fits all mentality and broad strokes argument the Grant seems to be obsessed with.

        Now that’s

        1. I like Matt, but he is a company man all the way. GC is more objective. Grant focused on Kaep’s accuracy with the long ball, and lo and behold, they concentrated on the long ball in subsequent practices. Sounds like Grant gets to the heart of the matter. I can appreciate that.

          1. For the record, I enjoy Grant’s work, and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I think Grant does his best work these days for Bleacher Report, where he sticks to straight editorial reporting and analysis, and stays away from this type of op-ed opinionated stuff.

            And seriously ….. “Steinbeck?” Good stuff sebnynah. Man that was funny. You made my bro.

              1. TY. I like this site, too. It is light years better than NN, where they post prodigious numbers of times and say zip. The posters on this site can at least string 4 words together into an intelligible thought.

              1. Zing!
                I really can’t rub it in to Grant or anyone else because I’m occasionally afflicted with Rantitis.

  22. Grant, Stick to something you have some limited knowledge (football) and avoid all other topics. It just makes you look bad.

  23. The way I view Brooks. I had already had it with him from last years antics. What does it say about the man, a guy who cant get any unless the lady is passed out. Usually people like that have a personality of a pea or is within an inch of becoming a queen.

  24. According to Matt Maiocco

    The 49ers’ offensive line struggled against the Broncos pass rush. The Broncos rolled up at least eight would-be sacks against the 49ers and forced several more quarterback scrambles.

    MM also mentioned QB-center exchange issues. It will be interesting to see how the O-line performs going forward.

        1. They need to fix challenges and stop the wild changes like moving the point after spot back which threaten the integrity and traditions of the game. Getting a better definition of a catch would help too.

      1. It’s freaky how fast some of these 300lbers are. Being chased down by G-Baby is scary, and he’s gonna get cut.

  25. If Brooks is convicted of “only” a misdemeanor I am 99.999 percent positive he qualifies for work release and/or modified custody- perhaps having his work day available which is typically Sunday or an occasional Monday or Thursday evening. Courts are generally loath to disrupt a con’s sole source of income so release time seems possible with stipulations. At this stage in the overall team arrest game, I assume the 49ers have amassed a department of experienced and tried criminal lawyers to master the tricks of the custody trade. Makes you wonder how many criminal attorneys they staff or contract.

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