Hanson responds, offers to take lie detector test
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Beleaguered and injured Oakland Raiders assistant coach Randy Hanson and his lawyer reacted strongly Thursday to a report that witnesses did not corroborate his claim that he was assaulted by head coach Tom Cable in August.
Hanson, who suffered a broken jaw and two cracked teeth during the alleged Aug. 5 incident, went so far as to offer to take a lie detector test and offered to pay for Cable to take one himself. Hanson has also agreed to be interviewed a second time next week by Napa, Calif., police investigating the incident.
“I will take a lie detector test and a drug test, and I will pay for it – and I’ll pay for Tom Cable to take those tests as well,” Hanson told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday.
However, one source who talked to Yahoo! and is highly familiar with the case said that based on statements given to police by Raiders assistants Willie Brown, John Marshall and Lionel Washington, the case is “really iffy.”
“There was a touching that, under the law, might be considered not good for Cable,” the source said. “… There was a confrontation. Hanson tumbled over. … Part of the issue is, what does ‘push’ mean. Somebody invaded his space. It’s real weak. No choking. No pushing him up against the wall. He grabbed him by the shirt front and yelled at him.”
The source did not have any theory as to how Hanson, who is still being paid by the franchise but currently has no active role, says he suffered a broken jaw and two cracked teeth after such an incident.
Regardless, Hanson’s attorney, John McGuinn, said that even if it were true there was only light touching by Cable and that Hanson broke his jaw after falling, “that’s still assault.”
“In fact, that’s classic assault,” McGuinn said.
Last week, Hanson gave a detailed account of the alleged attack, claiming Cable threatened to kill him and providing background on why he believes the relationship between the two deteriorated to that point.
Profootballtalk.com reported on Wednesday evening “that the three assistants [coaches] did not corroborate Hanson’s story, and that as a result charges are not expected to be filed against Cable.” Also on Wednesday, former Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski suggested on Bay Area radio station KNBR that Hanson was using drugs.
McGuinn said Thursday he believes the police department and Napa County district attorney’s office are dragging their feet in the case for fear of losing the business with the Raiders, who hold their training camp in Napa each year. McGuinn also strongly indicated that Hanson plans to sue Cable regardless of whether there are charges filed against Cable.
“They are going to try to think of every excuse they can not to prosecute [Cable] because they don’t want to lose the business,” McGuinn said. “The city of Napa police department and the [county] DA’s office are dragging their feet as much as they can. If this thing would go away, they would love it. There’s no question about it.”
A source within the Napa district attorney’s office indicated that a decision on whether to file charges in the case would likely come no earlier than by the end of next week. Napa County Assistant District Attorney Lee Philipson declined to discuss the case, but requested a tape of Yahoo!’s interview with Hanson.
McGuinn further said that the request to interview Hanson again next week is another stall tactic. McGuinn said he spoke with Napa police investigator Mike Walund on Thursday. Walund declined to comment when reached by Yahoo! Hanson plans to attend the interview without an attorney present in the room.
“Randy is more than willing to cooperate. He was questioned very thoroughly and extensively the first time,” said McGuinn, claiming his client talked to the police for more than an hour on Sept. 26.
“He answered every question they had. He went back over things. There was not a page unturned. Everything was covered,” McGuinn said. “He spent some considerable time toward the end being asked why he was not willing to cooperate at first and is willing now. The reason – he had a responsibility as a citizen to let the authorities do their job. And that’s why he’s willing to go back next week. Once the police opened an investigation, he was willing to cooperate.”
McGuinn said he believes that the follow-up interview is based on Hanson’s statements from the article on Yahoo!
“Clearly, [the police] have questions about something that was in the article,” McGuinn said, adding that Hanson’s statements in the article were consistent with what he told the police in September.
Regardless of how things play out next week, McGuinn said Napa’s decision is irrelevant relative to a civil suit.
“I personally could care less whether they prosecute the case, because we don’t need the DA to prosecute this case to pursue it as a civil matter,” McGuinn said. “His case is as strong without the criminal prosecution as it is with it. [The criminal case is for] the people of the state of California. Hopefully [Napa authorities] are doing the right thing. It’s frustrating to feel that the representatives of the people of California – the county of Napa – don’t want to do that for the people.”
An NFL source said this week that the league believes that the three assistant coaches are acting like members of the “coaching fraternity,” unwilling to tell the complete truth about the situation for fear of being shunned as coaches in the future. The source said the league believes there was an assault by Cable, but is waiting to take action against the coach under the league’s personal conduct policy because he has no prior history of trouble.
If Cable is not charged, the league could be in a tough situation. The league is concerned about the appearance that it’s dragging its feet in punishing a coach after handing out punishment to numerous players over the past three years under the policy.
Don Yee, Cable’s agent, declined to comment on the matter. Cable told reporters that “nothing happened” when the incident was initially reported and has since declined to comment, saying recently that the incident has not been a distraction to the Raiders, who have gotten off to a 1-4 start and have scored less than 10 points in each of the past three games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that he expects a report on the incident “in the next couple weeks.” He said the league is “allowing the criminal process to go forward for some period of time” before the NFL might get involved.
Oakland owner Al Davis also refused to discuss the case while at the NFL owners meeting this week in Boston.
“No, no,” Davis said, politely.