Al Davis hasn’t been around the Raiders’ facility too often during training camp, as he’s rarely seen before the sun goes down these days. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised it took until just over an hour ago for Al to hear the news: several reports say Tom Cable punched assistant Randy Hanson in the face, breaking his jaw. Wild thing is, Davis didn’t find out from Cable, Hanson or the media. It took a phone call from a guy a little higher up on the NFL food chain, commissioner Roger Goodell. This call took place at 9 PM PST, and through the magic of “investigative reporting,” we were able to come up with the transcript:
Al Davis: Hello, this is Al Davis.
Roger Goodell: Hello Al, how are you doing? This is Commissioner Goodell.
Al: Listen Roger, I told you. Those cretins in the Alameda City Council won’t force the Athletics to move. I’ve been calling them every day to no avail. There’s no negotiating with these people, short of bleeding them to death. I told these ignorant fools, the Athletics have access to a perfectly good stadium at Oakland Tech High School, a facility that possesses adequate seating capacity to satisfy what the Athletics require.
Goodell: Al, I’m not calling about the A’s, I’m calling about coach Cable.
Al: Damnit, don’t try and steal him away from me, Goodell. You rat bastard. Cable…is…mine!
(suddenly, Al’s canines grow to three times their normal size, causing a loud clicking noise in the process)
Goodell: What was that sound I just heard?
Al: It was nothing, don’t worry about it. Listen Roger, I’m getting ready to drink my breakfast here, I don’t have time to fend off vultures trying to steal my talented minions. What is it you seek from me?
Goodell: Breakfast? I ate dinner three hours ago.
Al: One man’s dinner is another man’s breakfast.
Goodell: Al, are you aware everyone in the world is reporting that your head coach punched his assistant in the face and broke his jaw? That he was sent to the hospital, but won’t talk to police?
Al: No, although I could have seen it coming. That Rathman has always irked both Thomas and myself with his insubordination. Whatever Cable did, it was justified. Good day, Roger…
Goodell: Wait, wait, wait. Al, is Rathman even on your staff anymore? The assistant who ended up in the hospital was Randy Hanson, a coach whose hiring wasn’t even reported to the league, by the way.
Al: Hanson’s part of our intern program.
Goodell: (Sigh) Anyway, the police are talking about performing a criminal investigation on your head coach for assault and battery.
Al: What? Back in the 1970’s, the Raiders ran rampant through Oakland, getting in fights on Saturday night with the Hell’s Angels before busting heads on the football field on Sunday afternoon. This hick town, Napa, wants to investigate my coach?!?! If what you say actually comes to pass, the Raiders will not just move our training camp to a more grateful city. I’ll sue the damned Napa Chamber of Commerce for insubordination.
Goodell: Al, listen. Can you go talk to Mr. Cable and Mr. Hanson as soon as possible and let me know what the hell is going on over there? I’ve had to suspend quite a few players lately, to the point where our players are starting to think the NFL is more racist than a group of European soccer hooligans drunk off Elephant Malt Liquor and absinthe. If Cable has done something wrong, I’m going to have to suspend him. And no, you can’t…
Al: If you suspend Cable, there’s only one solution: I’m going to have to be the new head coach of this team. And I command you to reschedule the rest of the season so that we play all of our games at night. And no games on the West Coast until November. We don’t mind playing our first eight games on the road.
Goodell: Al, you know I can’t let you coach the team. You’re a damned vampire, for Christ’s sake. There’s no way we would ever reschedule any of your games. And I, as the commissioner of the National Football League, reserve the right to install any interim head coach I desire. And if Cable did punch Hanson in the face and gets charged with a felony, Jon Gruden will be the new head coach of the Raiders. And you will pay Mr. Gruden a salary of $400,000 per game, which I’m sure you’ll agree is a fair wage.
Al: Fair wage? Fair wage? For a coach? Any decent football coach in the high school or college ranks can take the Oakland Raiders to the playoffs, provided I’m allowed to make the personnel decisions without people meddling in my affairs. Gruden is a liar, he’s a cheater and he’s a criminally greedy individual. Now Roger, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to get going.
Goodell: Talk to your coaches, okay Al? You better talk to ’em, or I will.
Al: One day Goodell, I will feast upon your sweet nectar. I will get nourishment from your veins, and feast upon your soul.
Goodell: Alright Al, I’ll talk to you later.
Al: Turn your attention towards the real enemy, the Oakland Athletics!
Goodell: Goodnight, Al.
Al: Have a good morning, commissioner.