Commentary: Cable deserves patience despite allegations


(TFDS file/ Patrick A. Patterson)

As the Raiders season swirls the drain down towards another lost season and likely double digit losses, the sharks are encircling Tom Cable and smelling blood. Not long after the Napa County district attorney decided against charges stemming from the alleged altercation with Randy Hanson, two former lovers appeared out of the woodwork accusing Cable of domestic abuse.

The timing of these allegations is unfortunate for Cable, since he was already under heightened scrutiny after the Hanson incident. The new allegations are creating a renewed call for the NFL and the Raiders to punish Cable with suggestions ranging from a suspension to firing. As the head coach of the Raiders, Cable is nominally a public figure, but he also has the right to have accusations against him investigated and confirmed before any punishment is handed out.

These latest accusations were brought to light on Sunday during ESPN’s Outside the Lines, as Cable’s first wife and a recent ex-girlfriend were both interviewed. The show also brought to light allegations of abuse from his divorce from his second wife. His second wife issued a statement through her attorney denying that Cable had ever physically assaulted her.

 

Cable issued his own statement immediately following the program stating that he had “slapped with an open hand” his first wife when he “discovered she had an affair.” He also stated that he had lived with “sorrow and remorse” regarding the event. In the event of an affair, it is not difficult to see that it would be easy for someone to lose their temper and strike their significant other. This does not excuse the behavior of striking a woman, but it is understandable.

Cable admitting that he slapped a woman in a moment of passionate anger is a far cry from the way he is painted in a news release by the National Organization of Woman:

“Tom Cable’s history of violence against women raises a question: why is he still the head coach of an NFL team?-Mr. Cable admits having battered his first wife, and he stands accused of battering two other intimate partners as well. As a survivor of domestic violence, I know that women do not make such accusations lightly. Indeed, women have much more to lose than to gain by coming forward to tell their stories.

“The Oakland Raiders, properly, say they are undergoing a ‘serious evaluation’ of these recent allegations,” O’Neill continued. “At the very least he should be suspended during this process. … A man who has admitted battering his wife has no business being a role model for all of us who would like to be able to look up to the head coach of an NFL football team.”

This release reeks of political opportunism. Cable did not admit to a pattern of battery. He admitted to “Slapping her with an open hand” on “One occasion” twenty years ago. Admitting to slapping his wife in a moment of anger, does not make him a serial batterer as the press release implies. Anyone can lose their temper and snap, and if he had discovered adultery, that would certainly be a key factor in having anyone losing their temper.

Cable’s first wife disputes Cable’s recollection of the event, saying that it was a closed fist punch and that no infidelity had occurred. This means that it is nothing more than a he-said she-said regarding an event that happened two decades ago.

The second key allegation took place in January of this year. In this case, an ex-girlfriend arrived at his home in the early morning hours, and he was with another woman. (It would turn out this other woman is his current wife.) The ex-girlfriend then demanded to meet the other woman and refused to leave. Cable allegedly physically escorted her out and she “fell to the ground” The Alameda police were called and nothing came out of it.

The Oakland Raiders released a statement saying:

Over the last few days, we learned of the allegations made against Coach Cable and we are, of course, aware of his response thereto. In conjunction with the League office, we will undertake a serious evaluation of this matter.

We wish to be clear that we do not in any way condone or accept actions such as those alleged.

There have been occasions on which we have dismissed Raider employees for having engaged in inappropriate conduct. For reasons of privacy, we kept the basis for those dismissals confidential. We endured public opprobrium for the dismissals, all the while knowing our basis for them was appropriate.

This is the best course of action. Take the time to investigate the allegations before anything is done. There should be information readily available from the Alameda police department on the call that was taken that morning. He was an employee of the Oakland Raiders and the NFL at that time, and it should be handled accordingly. The case from 20 years ago has no bearing as he was not employed by the NFL or the Raiders at that time.

He will very likely be fired at the end of the season based on the play of the team, with this situation being the final straw. The calls to remove him before the evidence is in by the NOW is an attempt to hold him up as an example and advance their own agenda. Domestic violence is a serious issue, but it is not fair to remove someone from their job any time someone asks when they stopped beating their wife. Cable is entitled to be judged on facts, not allegations.

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About Patrick A. Patterson, Senior Writer

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