Sunday, January 16, 2011

Al Davis withheld $120,000 from Tom Cable’s paychecks

Though Raiders coach Tom Cable has no apparent cause to file a grievance against the Raiders for not picking up the option on the final two years of his contract, a claim filed during the season by Cable may have greased the skids for Cable’s exit.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Cable filed a grievance against the Raiders after owner Al Davis began withholding $20,000 per paycheck for team imposed fines. The total amount Davis retained? $120,000.
The specific reason for the fines isn’t known. (Yet.)

Under every NFL head-coaching contract, disputes are resolved by the league office. As a practical matter, that procedure tends to tilt the playing field in favor of the teams, since the teams ultimately hire the man who runs the league office. Indeed, the Raiders successfully beat back former head coach Lane Kiffin’s attempt to receive the money due on the balance of his contract after Davis fired Kiffin during the 2008 season, only his second on the job.

Actually, the fact that Cable filed the grievance to recover his withheld pay could serve as the basis for an attack against the Raiders’ decision not to pick up his option. Though, again, the decision ultimately would be made by a forum that’s favorable to the franchises who pay the salaries of the Commissioner and the folks within the league office who would potentially be asked to resolve the dispute by him, most American jurisdictions protect employees against retaliation for pursuing in good faith their legal rights and remedies. With the Raiders on the rise at 8-8 and players like punter Shane Lechler willing to stand up publicly for the head coach, a persuasive argument could be made that the decision by Cable to pursue his rights was a motivating factor in the decision not to bring him back.
Such a claim has not been filed. (Yet.)

author:  Mike Florio

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