Imrem: In terms of credibility, this was costly for Bears

The guilty often lie, and evidence is mounting toward Ray McDonald fitting into this category.

At the same time it's indicting the Bears, too.

Think about it: Being caught in a lie isn't a big deal after being caught in more serious transgressions.

You might as well keep saying you didn't do it until some sucker believes you.

McDonald found a true believer in George McCaskey.

At least the Bears' chairman believed the defensive end until the events of Monday at 7 in the morning, which prompted the club to release McDonald shortly thereafter.

McDonald has been an embarrassing issue since March, when the Bears signed him as an unrestricted free agent.

The reason McDonald was available was the 49ers dumped him after a couple of troubling incidents last year.

McDonald was arrested in August for domestic violence, though the charges were dropped. Then he was arrested in December for sexual assault, a case that reportedly is ongoing.

The pattern continued Monday when police arrested McDonald in Santa Clara, California, on suspicion of domestic violence and possible child endangerment.

How must McCaskey - who approved the McDonald signing after granting him essentially a job interview - feel now?

"I was impressed with how sincere he was," McCaskey was quoted as saying back then.

What did McCaskey expect McDonald to say to him? Yes, I'm a criminal? Yes, I abuse women? Yes, I'm as guilty as you know what?

Apparently, McDonald fooled McCaskey into thinking that he hadn't done anything wrong. But general manager Ryan Pace indicated Monday that McDonald was given a second chance, as if he indeed had done something wrong.

This is one befuddled and befuddling organization.

The Bears didn't execute due diligence. Asking Vic Fangio - McDonald's defensive coordinator in San Francisco and now in the same position with the Bears - clearly wasn't good enough.

Once the issues are as serious as domestic violence and sexual assault, denying them must come easy to somebody like Ray McDonald. It must be natural for someone to look someone else in the eye, throw palms up in the air like a pro wrestler and swear that nothing happened.

In McDonald's case, the Bears chose to ignore that there was a real chance that the smoke he was blowing would set Halas Hall on fire.

The Bears reportedly signed McDonald to a team-friendly contract that wouldn't burn them if at best he resumed "being in the wrong place at the wrong time" and at worst actually committed heinous crimes against women.

The Bears could walk away from McDonald at any time without suffering much financially or competitively.

Credibility? That's something altogether different from money and victories, however, and to some more valuable.

The McDonald signing exposed the Bears as a team that would hire a problematic player suspected of domestic abuse just to be a bit better.

Heck, that's the way of the NFL anyway, isn't it? We're talking about professional football, not a church league. If a player is good enough, someone will sign him.

This time it was the Bears.

George McCaskey believed what Ray McDonald was babbling, and others in the organization believed what they wanted to believe.

No damage done … except to the franchise's preference to be perceived as a beacon of athletic integrity.

And that ain't no lie.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.