After more than two months of off-the-record leaks and periodic comments from his lawyer, Raiders defensive assistant Randy Hanson has told his story to a member of the media.
Hanson sat down Friday with Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports to discuss the events that resulted in Hanson suffering a broken jaw on August 5.
And here’s the key allegation.
“From my blindside, Tom Cable threw me from my chair and into a
piece of furniture that a lamp sat upon,” Hanson told Silver. “He was
screaming, ‘I’ll f–king kill you! I’ll f–king kill you!’ And I have no
reason to believe he wouldn’t have killed me if they hadn’t pulled him
“If my head would’ve hit a different way, I might be dead right now.”
Silver also reports, citing an unnamed source close to the investigation, that the three Raiders assistants who were present for the alleged attack (defensive coordinator John Marshall, defensive backs coach Lionel Washington, and assistant defensive backs coach Willie Brown) have corroborated Hanson’s version of the attack, a development that could go a long way toward a conviction or guilty plea by Cable, who is in his first full year as head coach of the Raiders.
Silver’s lengthy and compelling article deserves a full read — it addresses Hanson’s role with the team, his building tension with Cable, the perception that Hanson served as the eyes and ears for owner Al Davis, the specific events leading up to the meeting during which Cable allegedly broke Hanson’s face, and the aftermath of the alleged attack.
But here’s the thing that bothers us about all of this. The league, which is deferring for now to the criminal investigation being conducted by authorities in Napa, California, should be conducting its own aggressive review of the situation. With all the talk centering on whether Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet with Cable, the bigger question we have is whether Goodell has met with Hanson and the three eyewitnesses not named Tom Cable — and if not, why not?
When a sports league that currently is trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court that it operates as a single entity for certain antitrust has experienced a potentially serious episode of workplace violence, the sports league must behave like any other corporation would in that circumstance: (1) investigate swiftly; and (2) take all appropriate action based on the results of the investigation.
We realize that the league’s goal here is to wait for the authorities to take action, just like the league did in 2007 with Mike Vick. If Cable is indicted or pleads guilty, it will be much easier for 280 Park Avenue to put Cable on suspension. Besides, any effort to get Davis to go along with a suspension imposed in the absence of an indictment or guilty plea could be as tenuous and unpredictable as negotiating with North Korea.
Still, if the eyewitness accounts indeed support Hanson’s claims, inaction by the league is unacceptable, especially since players who engage in this type of misconduct face swift and unequivocal justice from the league office.
The saddest part of this entire ordeal is that Hanson has been a rabid Raiders fan since childhood, and years spent working in the business (including his alleged “Hulk smash!” experience with the team’s head coach) somehow have not dulled his passion.
“I watch every game,” Hanson told Silver. “I want them to win. Once a Raider, always a Raider.”
And that leads to the biggest remaining question unrelated to whether Cable will be prosecuted or suspended/fired for his alleged actions: Will Hanson sue the Raiders or Cable?
“[S]ometimes you’ve got to be a Raider, too,” Hanson said. “I mean, if he were in my situation, what would Mr. Davis do?”
Anyone who has been following the NFL for more than a few years knows that answer to that one.