Oakland Raiders Need to Cut Terdell Sands for Assault on Shane Lechler

Michael SchulzeCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2009

It was reported by the San Francisco Chroniclethat Terdell Sands punched Shane Lechler on the Oakland Raiders flight home from Denver on Nov. 23, 2008. 

Amazingly, this incident, which bruised Lechler's face, is only being reported now. 

I have no problem with the Raiders' penchant for secrecy; however, this assault should have come to light earlier because the Raiders should have implemented some disciplinary action against Sands.  Instead, Sands received no punishment or admonishment whatsoever. 

Fights on the playing field, to an extent, are excusable since the players are in the heat of battle and tend to get caught up in the moment.  Plus, they are wearing pads and there are rarely injuries.

However, this incident occurred on the team's flight home from the victory in Denver and was far removed from any "heat of battle" moment. 

Contrast the Raiders' inaction with the actions of the Carolina Panthers.  When Steve Smith punched a teammate during practice, the team suspended its best and most valuable player for the assault. 

Smith apologized and the team reportedly bonded over the incident and how the players involved handled the situation. 

The Raiders, on the other hand, simply looked the other way when one of the team's most under-achieving players punched one of the team's best players in the face. 

Now, the Raiders are attempting to re-sign All-Pro and Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler, whose NFL record career punting average of 46.8 yards the team desperately needs.

All indications are that signing Lechler will prove to be impossible, in large part, due to the fact that the team took no action against Sands when he punched and bruised Lechler's face. 

The Raiders should have cut Terdell Sands on the spot, as soon as the plane landed, or at the very least, suspended him. 

The Raiders' failure to do so now may cost the team the greatest punter in the NFL since Ray Guy.  This is not a good start to the off-season.