RENTON When the Oakland Raiders decide to fire a guy for bad behavior, what does that say?
Yes, team owner Al Davis is certifiable. He would fire an angel for being over the maximum count in wing feathers. Or, since encountering an angel is extremely unlikely for Davis, let try this: He would fire the devil for giving the late NFL commissioner, Pete Rozelle, water and a towel.
But that doesnt mean Davis is incapable of making a point or two.
Around the time Tuesday that Cable agreed with head coach Pete Carroll to become the Seahawks new assistant head coach with command over the offensive line before the current O-line coach has been dismissed Davis was spending a good part of his season-ending, press-conference diatribe in Oakland explaining why he fired Cable despite leading the Raiders to an 8-8 record, their best season since 2003.
Davis claimed that Cable had lied to him for failing disclosing allegations of domestic abuse against him by two ex-wives and a girlfriend, as well as taking his then-girlfriend to accompany him on a team road trip, a violation of protocol with nearly all NFL teams.
In a much-chronicled training camp episode in August, 2009, Cable also was said to have punched out his own assistant coach, Randy Hanson, during a hotel-room meeting, breaking his jaw. Hanson later sued Cable and the Raiders, but prosecutors said there wasnt enough evidence to win the case.
The episode prompted ESPN to look into his history, discovering claims by three women with whom he had relationships that he had physically abused them. Cable admitted to the episode with his first wife, Sandy, and offered a written apology.
The lawsuits included the Raiders, so Davis used the clubs legal costs as an excuse to dock $120,000 of his pay. Cable is suing the Raiders to regain the money.
The fact that it was Davis who was leveling the latest complaints about Cable made them easily dismissable, simply because it came from Davis, whose eccentrism in managing his team has only grown wackier as age, poor health and bitterness overtake him.
But if Daviss little fiefdom had checked out Cables background, the Raiders wouldnt have been in this mess in the first place. Besides which, Davis could have fired him after the Hanson episode.
But Davis held off being indignant until after his team fell out of the playoff hunt.
The Seahawks? Well, they did check out Cable, and didnt discover any impediment to his hire.
Weve done our due diligence to understand the background, said Carroll Wednesday in his final press conference of the season. I feel that this is a good time for him to come to us. Hes going to get supported. Hes going to be reinforced as he moves ahead to do all the good things and the right things and live the life that he wants to live in the manner that he wants to live it.
Not sure what all that means, but Carroll didnt seem to think it necessary to suggest that the Seahawks even wagged a finger under his nose and made him promise to behave, or even indicate on the coachs behalf that he was sorry for the damage he has done to three women. Carroll just chose to blow off any discussion about the mans very public personal history.
What Carroll does know about Cable was that he was on the other sideline on Halloween in Oakland when the Seahawks were given their most physical beating of the year.
Apart from a passel of injuries in the 33-3 defeat, what stood out from that game was that the Raiders rushed for 239 yards, a 6.1 yards per carry average that included four runs of 30 yards or more.
Thats exactly what Carroll wants from his offense, and exactly what he didnt get in his first season. Its exactly why offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was fired, and exactly why the new OC will be taking orders from Cable.
He has a very deep commitment in what he does in the running game, and how he coveys that message to his players, Carroll said. You add with that a toughness (and) and standards that I think will really elevate us to a level that will help us tremendously.
In case it wasnt clear, the Seahawks just hired the meanest available sumbitch in the valley. And hey, hes from our valley, or at least Snohomish High School, from where he graduated.
Seahawks fans who dont care about anything but wins may prefer to dismiss Cables transgressions in light of his potential aid. Carroll seemed so confident that most people wont know or care that they didnt even bother to address it in a forthright way.
Maybe Cable has recognized his abusive ways and has taken steps. We dont know. But theres a part of the constituency that will be very uncomfortable with Cables background. To ignore a history of domestic violence, particularly on the part of a top manager, only compounds the long-term problem of ignorance.
Sports-figure conduct has taken a bad turn in Seattle recently. On the same day Cable was hired, Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley was arrested in southern California on a felony charge of threatening a woman with death or serious harm.
An unidentified Huskies basketball player is subject to a police investigation for an alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. Last summer, the Mariners acquired a pitcher from Texas, Josh Lueke, unaware that he served time for a sexual assault. Hes still on the roster.
Usually, it is unwise to connect the dots among unrelated events to make some sweeping generalization. So we wont. But it does seem reasonable to ask of Cable that when he arrives in town, he be direct and honest about his past. Its the kind of accountability he’s famous for demanding from his players.
If for no other reason, he should be straight so his head coach doesnt have to talk in circles.