IN THE CASE of the NFL v. Tom Cable, the main culprit is…
Well, it’s not Tom Cable.
Maybe the Raiders coach allegedly battered assistant Randy Hansen into jaw-breaking submission. Maybe Cable has a history of domestic violence, as ESPN reported last week. Maybe Cable is obviously in over his head as an NFL head coach – as Oakland’s 2-6 record suggests.
But if a guy has a history of violent activity and uncontrollable outbursts of anger, is it any wonder that pesky behavior would rear its ugly head again?
The Raiders should have known that, with Cable, they were getting an unstable hot head who doesn’t exactly buy into the social contract.
But the Raiders didn’t know. And that’s why the Raiders – not Cable – are deserving of the NFL hammer on this one.
Had owner Al Davis properly vetted his current head coach, he might have found that a guy who supposedly batters women is not fit to be a leader of men.
He might have found that Cable’s history of abuse is not the ideal path for a return to glory
Oh, but that’s a difficult process, right? All that investigative work, all those messy phone calls and awkward interviews. Heck, Davis might have even had to hire an outside company to get the job done right.
Or he could have called Cable’s ex-wife and former girlfriend, who both told ESPN that the coach hit them.
True, he-said-she-said accusations from a potentially-bitter former spouses might not have been enough to disqualify Cable from the job. But at the very least they would have raised some serious red flags. Flags that deserve to be investigated a little bit more.
And then Davis could have gotten Cable’s side of the story, and then maybe, just maybe, Davis might have figured out that Cable wasn’t his man.
It’s not Cable’s fault the Raiders didn’t perform due diligence. It’s the Raiders fault, which is no surprise.
The most barbaric fan might suggest that Cable’s fist-raising ways represent a throwback to the old Raiders mystique. Certainly the burly, crop-topped, take no guff Cable fits the Raiders caricature more than his pretty boy predecessor Lane Kiffin.
But in the reality of modern society, there is no place in leadership for a man who allegedly raised his hand on a woman. And even in the all-testosterone world of the NFL, there is no place to break the jaw of an underling, which is what Hansen says Cable did during training camp in Napa, though the Napa authorities declined to pursue the case.
Though it should be noted that none of these allegations have been proven true, they do create a disturbing trend for a man who has one of the most coveted jobs in America.
Violence at home and in the workplace is as antiquated a notion as separate water fountains for whites and blacks. No matter how perfectly Cable fits the Raiders rough around the edges persona, the team needs to start living in the real world.
Which is why the NFL needs to take control of the once-proud franchise. Since the Super Bowl loss in 2002, Davis has proven himself unable to adapt to the winds of change in both society and the NFL. He has led the Raiders down a putrid path of subservience to the rest of the league, as a 26-78 record since 2003 might suggest. And as though losing wasn’t enough, Davis has turned the Raiders into a football sideshow by stumbling head first into garish controversies and embarrassing disputes.
The team’s executives have had physical confrontations with media members, and the organization seems determined to ban anyone with a critical opinion from its facilities. Just ask Rich Gannon. Currently, the on-field distractions come from Jamarcus Russell, the top-pick quarterback who, in only his third season, is in danger of eating and lounging himself out of the league.
The Cable embarassment – which will almost surely end with him losing his job, and the team performing another comedic coach search – is just the latest illustration of an organization that has spun out of control.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell must wrestle control of the Raiders away from Davis, and restore respect to a formerly proud franchise.
Because, though the Cable controversy will eventually subside, another unnecessary drama will soon take its place.
That’s just the way of the Raiders.