Al Davis is watching. That should be understood. He may be 80 and hurting physically, but nothing gets past him. Including this embarrassing business with his coach, Tom Cable.
We know Al’s philosophy of sport, the idea of just winning. Not that he’s any different from the rest of us. As Red Smith wrote decades ago, you’re not going to field a team of choirboys. Not if you want to be successful.
You use who you can, when you can. Get them out of bed sick, get them out of jail, get them on the field.
Al Davis, however, has a social conscience, supporting the less fortunate, especially former players. He often talks tough. He doesn’t talk nonsense.
The statement from the Raiders, meaning from the desk of Al Davis, that they are aware of the allegations against Cable, accused of striking an ex-wife and a former girlfriend, “and will undertake a serious evaluation of this matter,” is proof Davis is not taking the issue lightly.
Not dismissing it with the commentary, “We’re just thinking about the season,” which is what we usually get. Along with suggestions any criticism of the Raiders is a conspiracy hatched by the NFL.
In one of the more unusual interview sessions, Cable on Monday stood behind a podium to be confronted by a house divided by gender.
The male reporters were more interested in the progress of quarterback JaMarcus Russell, or rather the lack of. The females asked Cable about the allegations against him and how he felt about anger management.
His repetitive answers referred to a statement released in the wake of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” program on Sunday — a short while before the Raiders lost to the San Diego Chargers 24-16 — that Cable physically abused the women.
This after the Napa County district attorney said he would not pursue charges against Cable over the incident in August in which a Raiders assistant coach claimed the coach broke his jaw.
Cable’s response to “Outside the Lines” said that more than 20 years ago, during the marriage to his first wife, Sandy Cable, he learned she had committed adultery and he “slapped her with an open hand,” and has regretted it. He denies striking
ex-girlfriend Marie Lutz earlier this year.
When Cable was asked by a woman reporter Monday, “Can you tell us what Al Davis has said?” he answered, “We have not had a discussion.”
They have now. You can be certain. And whether Cable’s position as coach is in jeopardy because of the allegations, as opposed to being in jeopardy because of a 2-6 record, one need only read the release from the Raiders.
“We wish to be clear that we do not in any way condone or accept actions such as those alleged,” the Raiders’ statement said. “There have been occasions on which we have dismissed Raider employees for having engaged in inappropriate conduct.”
Not surprisingly, the Raiders sent out another release insisting “during the past year ESPN engaged in a calculated effort to distort the truth about the Raiders.”
That can be ignored. No one, the Raiders, the NFL, the public, can ignore what the team calls “the allegations” against Cable.
If those allegations are at the point of “he said, she said,” remember the only thing that counts is what Al Davis says.