There is only one man associated with the Chicago Bears who should be embarrassed by what happened with Ray McDonald.
It’s not Ray McDonald himself, who should definitely be embarrassed by his continued stupidity but is thankfully no longer associated with the Chicago Bears.
It’s not general manager Ryan Pace, who’s job depends on putting a team capable of winning games on the field. His evaluation of players mainly applies to what happens on the field and in the locker room, and McDonald didn’t have any problems in those areas.
It’s not defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who vouched for McDonald before he signed with the Bears. Even more than Pace, Fangio’s input should only be taken into account for on-field product and locker room behavior. Fangio should not be relied upon as an authority for anything involving McDonald’s personal life away from the field, so McDonald having issues in that area does not reflect poorly on Vic Fangio.
No, the man who should be embarrassed today is none other than George McCaskey, the chairman of the Bears who describes himself as the man with the final say in any personnel moves that involve character issues.
McCaskey himself has said that he initially told Ryan Pace he could not sign Ray McDonald. According to McCaskey’s own testimony, that came after reviewing a detailed file on McDonald put together by Chicago’s security staff. But McDonald and McCaskey then had a face to face meeting in which McCaskey was hoodwinked into believing in McDonald, so he changed his mind despite the facts of the case, and McCaskey’s knowledge of them, remaining exactly the same.
From a business standpoint, hiring McDonald was not really a bad move. The Bears gave him no guaranteed money and cut him instantly when he messed up again. In that regard, they didn’t really do anything wrong, even if I’m not a fan of giving an alleged serial domestic abuser his 4th chance in under 12 months when he has not voiced any sort of public remorse for his actions.
But here is why McCaskey should be embarrassed: his comments in the immediate aftermath of the McDonald hiring reek of delusion and hypocrisy. He spoke of the Bears having “a 96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” shortly after signing a man that, by his own judgment when presented only with the facts of the case, did not fit in with that way.
He also spoke about needing to do a “certain amount of discounting” of the alleged victim’s testimony, despite the fact that he freely admitted never having tried to actually hear that testimony from the alleged victim, her lawyer, or anyone associated with her. To McCaskey’s credit, he does say there is a level of bias to be expected from everybody involved in the situation, yet he apparently failed to apply that bias filter to McDonald’s side of the story while publicly attaching it to the alleged victim, just one of the many ways he showed a complete ineptitude in handling domestic violence situations.
Ray McDonald fooled George McCaskey into going against his better judgment. This led to McCaskey trying to claim some absurd moral high ground while simultaneously participating in victim shaming of a woman who has allegedly suffered at least three incidents of domestic violence in the past year. When it all blew up in only 2 months, McCaskey was left looking like a fool, and his family’s “96-year tradition of doing things a certain way” sure sounds like a hollow boast.