The National Organization for Women called on the Oakland Raiders to suspend coach Tom Cable while the team investigates allegations he has a history of violent behavior toward women.
NOW president Terry O'Neill praised the Raiders in a statement for undertaking a "serious evaluation" of charges made by Cable's first wife, Sandy Cable, and former girlfriend, Marie Lutz, that the coach physically abused them at various times during their relationships.
But she said that Cable should be suspended while that investigation proceeds. The Raiders had no comment.
"This is the National Football League. Boys and girls around the country, as well as many women, look to the leaders of the NFL as our role models," O'Neill said in a phone interview. "Why would the NFL tolerate having a man who admits to having battered his wife."
Cable has acknowledged striking Sandy Cable with an open hand more than 20 years ago and said it was the only time he's ever touched a woman inappropriately. Marie Lutz accused Cable of assaulting her as recently as last January, but Cable said previously he was cleared by police of any wrongdoing in that case.
"I take the accusations very seriously," O'Neill said. "What you have is a man who seems to be a person who habitually uses violence to get what he wants. That's what batterers do."
O'Neill said she has not contacted the Raiders or the NFL directly. Cable said Thursday he did not believe pressure from outside groups would influence what the team decides to do with him.
"I think it will be handled properly," he said. "I'm going to leave it at that right now."
The NOW statement was first reported by USA Today.