Ray Ratto

Ratto: Davis turns Jackson hire into Cable-bashing


Ratto: Davis turns Jackson hire into Cable-bashing

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Watch the Raiders press conference in its entirety at 10 p.m. Tuesday on CSNCalifornia.
Ray Ratto

So who got that Raider job anyway?

I mean, one minute, Hue Jackson is looking and sounding like the new head coach in Oakland, and the next, Tom Cable is being hauled out for one more comprehensive kneecapping from Al Davis.

Comprehensive, and maybe even a hair vindictive, too.

Jackson was the story of Davis latest presser, at least early on. The hard-working assistant finally getting his chance, fixing the Oakland offense and producing almost enough points last year to satisfying the owners scoring requirements.

And then it all went off the rails . . . that is, if you thought introducing Hue Jackson was the point of the gathering.

Davis had something to say about why Cable got fired. In fact, he had a lot to say, so much in fact that when Cable was announced as the Seahawks new assistant head coach and offensive line coach, you could only laugh at the surreal juxtaposition of events.

NEWS: Seahawks hire ex-Raiders coach Cable

Then again, thats the real beauty of the Raiders at times like this. They never get the timing right.

If Davis was offended by Cable laying out assistant coach Randy Hansen, he should have fired him 18 months ago. If he was outraged by the accusations of spousal abuse, he should have fired him when he first learned of it. If he was scandalized by Cable bringing women not currently his wife on road trips for night-before-the-game sances, he should have fired him then. If he was satisfied with emasculating him last January by stripping him of play-calling duties, he should have fired him then.

And he should have explained his reasons when he fired Cable 48 hours after the season ended, or had someone who is good at making the Raiders case to the public do it for him.

Oh, and he should have shut up about the imports altogether. That was just gratuitous.

Instead, he shoehorned his expressions of anger over Cable in with Jacksons big day, and as a result made the new coach disappear.

This is what happens when you pop your head out every two years or so -- he hadnt done a presser since the Richard Seymour trade two Septembers ago. You want to cover too much, and something is sacrificed, in this case the coach who is supposed to save your keister.

This is what happens when you dont want to explain yourself. When you do, you have to cover too much ground.

And this is what happens when you keep a coach way past the day when you cant stand him any more. When you do, the reasons why you didnt fire him look worse and worse, and then finally you go over the top.

In short, Al was too late again. He should canned Cable when he first decided he could no longer abide him, for whatever reason happened to set him off.

And he waited too long to explain it, wedging the relevant and the irrelevant in a massive hodgepodge of legal, moral and football issues that well need a team of forensic speech experts to sort out completely.

Ultimately, he kept Cable around because he didnt know Jackson well enough last winter. He kept Cable around because he didnt want to have to pay off Cable and a replacement offensive line coach. And he kept him around until he was sure the season was lost.

In short, Randy Hansen and the spousal abuse issues explained the 120,000 in fines, but not the firing. The firing came, at least in Als mind, when Jackson was hired. The absolute drop-dead firing date was when they blew the Miami game.
REWIND: Napa DA's statement on Cable-Hansen investigation

But the part about the women on the road clearly came the day Cable decided to say, Were not losers any more. Thats when Al decided that no holds would barred in dismembering the former coach.

Its why he brought up the fact that Cable has been a coach on three winning teams in his entire coaching career. Its why he brought up the pregame sleepovers. Al was mad that Cable decided to take his parting shot, so much so that he decided to strike back the most aggressive way he knew how.

The over-the-top way.

Davis had enough good reasons to fire Cable for the past 18 months, but didnt do it for 32 games. He had three weeks to explain it when he did fire him. Instead, he decided to handle the Cable matter on the day that he was introducing his replacement, and he threw in so many extraneous issues that the presser became Al justifying himself . . . strangely while blaming himself for doing a lousy job of background checks on his employees.

At least we think he was blaming himself. He might have just blurted out an answer to silence a noisome questioner.

And then he did another 20 minutes after that on other issues, as he usually does at these events, which reminded everyone yet again of why they were all gathered there in Alameda.

To meet the new coach . . . Old Whatisname . . . the guy who sat next to Al when he was clipping Cable . . . the guy who fixed Jason Campbell . . . yeah, Hue Jackson. Thats the guy.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor


Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”