Shame on the Oakland Raiders. Shame on Raiders' owner Mark Davis, such a silly man.
The Raiders fired their head public relations man on Saturday, although he'd been banned from the Raiders' facility before that. The man's name is Zak Gilbert and he's a good guy, and this firing makes Mark Davis seem like a twit — not for the first time in his life.
You may be thinking, "Why should I care if a PR guy gets the axe?"
It's a fair question. I'll try to explain.
Last April, Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter wrote a piece about the Raiders. From what I've been told and from what I've read, Mark did not like the way his dad, Al, and the Raiders were portrayed in Trotter's piece. And he did not like that general manager Reggie McKenzie was portrayed as the team's savior.
Trotter wrote about the Raiders' recent history of futility, a reasonable way to explain the context of what the Raiders need to overcome now. Trotter cited the record of what Al did wrong and what Mc-Kenzie is trying to do right. There is nothing unusual about that.
From what I've been told, Mark also objected to how he was portrayed in the SI piece. I thought Trotter portrayed him in a positive light.
Trotter quotes Mark: "The one thing I know is what I don't know — that's why I hire people to handle these things."
That is a perfectly reasonable quote and it shows Mark having humility and good judgment.
Mark also says this about McKenzie: "Reggie's my guy. He did inherit a mess, and he's still cleaning. I can be patient with him. I'm giving him the whole shot (five years). I'm not saying everybody else gets that same shot, because not everybody else is my guy. But Reggie is the one hire that I made — him and Carson (Palmer)."
This quote shows fair-mindedness. It also implies McKenzie may last long into the future, but others may not. That almost surely is a warning to coach Dennis Allen.
I am told Mark had problems with how he was quoted. So, he fired Zak Gilbert. Please think about this. Mark agreed to an interview. Mark willingly spoke on the record. Mark didn't like how his quotes came out. Mark blamed the PR guy. Mark fired the PR guy for what Mark said.
This firing is all about Mark's ego. He thought it would be easier to turn around the Raiders than it has been. A combo of Sid Gillman, Bill Walsh and Al Davis could not have turned around the Raiders in one year. When the Raiders continued to be bad last season, Mark's self-esteem took a blow. He knows what people whisper.
Everything Mark has is a gift. He has earned nothing. Al, who sometimes treated him with contempt, gave him the team even though, in his whole life, Mark never learned enough about football, never immersed himself in the organization, never fought for credibility in the NFL. Part of this was Al's fault. The Browns in Cincinnati and the Rooneys in Pittsburgh pass down the tradition and the knowledge from one generation to the next.
Al never passed down anything to his son, partly because Al was not the passing kind and partly because Mark is Mark.