Sources: Raiders Coach Tom Cable Punched Assistant During Altercation
National Football Post first reported Monday that Hanson, a third-year assistant who is in his first season with the team under the title "assistant coach-defense," had been hit by another member of the coaching staff, but did not specify the attacker.
Two NFL sources have confirmed to FanHouse that the assailant was Cable and "that Hanson never saw it coming."
Neither Hanson nor the coach who threw the punch were identified in a Napa, Calif., police report taken Aug. 6 at Queen of the Valley Hospital. But one well-placed NFL source told FanHouse of the attacker: "It's a well-known coach. Very well-known."
Pressed to confirm the identity of the attacker, the source said, "It was Cable who hit him."
According to a report on FoxSports.com Tuesday, the NFL has begun an investigation into the incident.
Cable said after the Raiders' Monday afternoon practice in Napa: "It's an internal issue. I'm not going to comment on that." Bay Area reporters sent out Tweets saying follow up questions were cut off by a Raiders official.
Earlier, as players took the practice field, they were heard chanting "Cable Bumaye!" (Cable Kill Him) -- a reference to the infamous chant made famous by boxing fans in Zaire when Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the 8th round during the Rumble in the Jungle fight in 1974.
According to Napa Police Lt. Brian McGovern, police followed procedure in responding to the downtown Napa hospital when Hanson arrived to receive treatment for what was described as an injured jaw. X-rays were taken. The results are not known, although one NFL source told FanHouse Hanson sustained a fractured jaw as a result of the punch.
Hanson told police the alleged assault took place at the Raiders' training camp site the day before, but he refused to name the attacker, which is hindering a police investigation into whether misdemeanor or even felony assault charges may be filed. A jaw fracture could warrant felony charges, but the fact the victim is unwilling to pursue the matter criminally is not surprising, given the cloistered nature of the tight-knit NFL coaching fraternity.
The police report is not public record, McGovern said, because of concern for privacy rights of the alleged victim.
"The victim didn't even want any police action taken," McGovern told FanHouse, "but we were following hospital policy that authorities be contacted in cases where there may have been an assault."
McGovern said Napa Police consider the matter closed at this point, "unless we are re-contacted by the victim, and the victim changes their mind that they want us to follow through and pursue an investigation. At this point we're not doing anything else with it."
Another NFL source told FanHouse that Hanson was in the middle of a conversation with defensive coordinator John Marshall when the alleged attack occurred.
Hanson previously served under former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin as an assistant defensive backs coach. The two clashed famously in Sept. 2008 when Hanson was suspended by Kiffin after the defensive assistant openly questioned the Raiders' game plan following a 41-14 season-opening loss to the then-Mike Shanahan-coached Denver Broncos.
"It's a good thing that Shanahan didn't have our players," Hanson reportedly blurted out in the presence of other coaches, "or else he would have beaten us 1,000-0."
Kiffin suspended Hanson for five days, causing a rift among a divided Raiders coaching staff that caused owner Al Davis to intervene. By that time, Kiffin and former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan were openly battling over defensive philosophy. By Week 1 of the '08 season, Davis already was compiling a dossier to document reasons to dismiss Kiffin. The Hanson incident was one more page for the report.
Asked about the Hanson outburst, Kiffin said last September, "Randy had some personal issues going on. Randy still did some work for us, but he spent some time at home to get some things straight in his personal life."
Raiders senior executive John Herrera told the National Football Post that Cable would address the latest Hanson controversy following the team's practice on Sunday, but that did not happen.