Mossy Cade tries to tackle Walter Payton in 1985.
Aaron Hernandez, if found guilty of murder, may go down as one of the most infamous of NFL bad guys, but when we look at the Packers history, one has got to point at least one finger at Mossy Cade, the Packers cornerback/safety, who in 1985-86 was convicted of sexual assault while with the team.
Sure, we can talk about Mark Chmura’s behavior around teenage girls in the hot tub; we can consider Paul Hornung’s off-the-field gambling activities; we can look at James Lofton’s extracurricular activities in the stairwell; we can remember Najeh Davenport’s indiscretions; and we can certainly note Johnny Jolly’s most recent problems with drugs … but it was the incident that Cade found himself involved in on Nov. 4, 1985, that tips the balance.
Sexual assault is bad enough, but what makes Cade’s actions so nasty is that he assaulted his aunt. It was the night after his first start with the Packers against the Chicago Bears when, according to the criminal complaint, Cade came home at about 1:15 a.m. and proceeded to assault his aunt who was staying with her nephew during a visit to the area.
When the woman decided to press charges, the Packers took no action. Forrest Gregg, the Packers’ head coach at the time had this to say about Cade:
"“I am not the judge. I am not the jury. This is America. A man is innocent until he is proven guilty.”"
Mossy Cade played two rather unproductive seasons in Green Bay.
While this might be true, the Packers made a very bad choice in standing by Cade. In fact, he not only played out the 1985 season, but was back on the team in 1986 as his case wound its way through court.
Ironically, Cade’s and James Lofton’s cases were heard in opposite courtrooms in the Brown County Courthouse in May 1986. Lofton was acquitted of his charges, but was soon released by the team. Cade was found guilty of assault and sentenced to two years in jail.
Cade served his sentence and then attempted to get back into football, signing with the Minnesota Vikings in 1988, but was cut three days after his signing because of the backlash from fans and the press.
He would never play football again and his whereabouts today are not known.
The seriousness of Cade’s actions were just another black eye on the franchise which struggled mightily for acceptance in the public eye and for respect on the football field. These were dark times for the franchise and it would be nearly another decade before the franchise would rise from the ashes to a Super Bowl Championship in 1996.