Josh McNary, an Indianapolis Colts linebacker charged with raping a 29-year-old woman in December, has been placed on the NFL’s commissioner exempt list, the league said yesterday.
Being on the list means McNary cannot play or practice with the team, which is in the NFL playoffs, until his legal issues are resolved. A player can remain on the list for an undetermined period of time, while getting paid, without taking up one of his team’s roster spots.
McNary, 26, was charged Wednesday in Marion County Superior Court with felony rape, criminal confinement and battery, according to court records. He is accused of attacking the woman in his Indianapolis apartment when she rejected his advances.
The Colts, who had asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to place McNary on the exempt list, play the New England Patriots in the American Football Conference championship on Sunday with the winner headed to the Super Bowl on February 1.
The designation of being on the exempt list “will permit the investigation provided by the League’s Personal Conduct Policy to run its course and will afford Josh the opportunity to focus on his defense against the charges,” the team said. “The Colts sincerely hope this extraordinarily serious matter will be resolved expeditiously and that justice will prevail,” the team said.
The Army graduate has been with the Colts for two seasons after finishing his college career as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss. McNary spent two years on active duty to fulfill his military obligation before signing with Indy in April 2013. He has 20 tackles in 16 games.
Cases of domestic violence and sexual assault have rocked the National Football League in the past year and Goodell has responded by toughening sanctions against offenders.
In the past year several players have been placed on the exempt list, including 2012 NFL most valuable player Adrian Peterson.