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Just fight, baby

The Oakland Raiders fall into a silver-and-black hole. Plus, a UFC fighter gets punchy.
By MATT TAIBBI  |  October 14, 2009


Things just keep getting exponentially worse (and more amusing) for the Oakland Raiders. Hell, this franchise was better to the people of Oakland when it left Oakland. Now the head coach is about to get arrested for breaking another coach’s face with his fist. Does it get any weirder than this?

Head coach Tom Cable, a burly taskmaster, allegedly assaulted assistant coach Randy Hanson back on August 5, after which Hanson was treated for a broken jaw. Following a two-month investigation by the Napa (California) Police Department, Cable’s fate now rests in the hands of the district attorney (at least until NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets a hold of him).

The Raiders’ management philosophy is like something cooked up by a random-number generator — a series of moves so strange and so contradictory that it almost doesn’t seem possible that they’re being executed by the same people. On the one hand, the franchise acts like what it is — a struggling team in the midst of a rebuilding phase that needs to cut corners, both financially and in terms of its on-field ambitions. On the other hand, the Raiders have made a few moves — like signing all-world corner Nnamdi Asomugha to a gazillion-dollar multi-year deal — of the sort that a contender would make.

Then there are moves like last month’s acquisition of New England’s own Richard Seymour at the almost assuredly extravagant cost of a 2011 first-round pick — the kind that made absolutely no sense at all, since Seymour is a free agent and Oakland is going nowhere. So long as JaMarcus Russell is slinging darts into quadruple coverage, Oakland is destined to be a back-of-the-pack team.

It’s one thing to mortgage the future for the present. But who mortgages the future to lose now?

Something tells me discipline in a football team is going to be lax if the coaches break each other’s faces. Wouldn’t want to be a fan in Oakland right now — stay tuned for the DA’s decision on this one.

Not-so-idle threats
Bleach-blond young UFC fighter Junie Browning was taken to a hospital outside of Las Vegas last week after ingesting 16 anti-anxiety pills in an attempt to harm himself. Upon arrival, he had a major freak-out, pushing a female nurse, punching a male nurse, and kicking a second male nurse.

Then, as he was ushered out of the hospital, he got really nasty, apparently screaming, “Do you know who I am? I will kill you and rape your family.”

Browning was booked on three counts of battery upon a health-care provider, then promptly had his UFC contract terminated.

Assault of a nurse is one thing, but threatening family rape is ugly, even for a UFC fighter — 61 points for the wig-out.

Three names, you’re out
With his arrest last week, Michael David Barrett joins Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman, and others in the freaky-deaky three-name villain club. Barrett was charged in connection with the stalking of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, who was victimized when Barrett took naked videos of her and then posted them online.

Barrett, an insurance executive, allegedly used a hacksaw to modify the peepholes of hotel rooms, then recorded the videos on a cell-phone camera. He is accused of making eight videos of Andrews, and prosecutors claim he pulled the same slimy trick on additional victims.

He is now wearing an ankle bracelet pending trial, and is barred from using the Internet. Federal prosecutors say he is a “danger” to other women.

On a jerk scale of one to 10, Barrett is at least a 16 — give him 72 points for stalking and what amounts to sexual assault.

Matt Taibbi can be reached at

Related: Fallen eagle, Easy policework, Hands of stone, More more >
  Topics: Sports , Sports, National Football League, AFC East Division,  More more >
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