Three months ago I had the privilege — well, actually, it was more disgusting than enjoyable — of sitting two feet behind Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis on a flight from Southern California to the Bay Area. He was pleasant, filthy and old. Like, VERY old.
At the owner’s meetings, you can only imagine the treatment he’s given after treating the first “establishment” like enemies — moving his team, suing them and coining the phrase “abstain” during any of the league’s votes on various issues from collective bargaining to television deals.
The Oakland Raiders have always been a little kooky because, like the Orioles, they have a kooky owner.
Davis is eccentric, borderline senile and clearly marches to his own beat.
But tonight, with whispered words leaking that his current head coach Tom Cable might’ve assaulted one of his own assistant coaches (defensive assistant Randy Hanson) in a meeting and went as far as to send him to a clinic for an apparent broken jaw, this puts the league and the rest of the teams on red alert as to how weird and uprofessional a place that Oakland is to work in the NFL. (Later tonight, ESPN refuted the intial report and now the word is it could’ve been an altercation between defensive coordinator John Marshall who fought with Hanson).
Among the people I know in the league, the Raiders are a lot like the Orioles — they are the LAST place in the league you’d want to work because the place isn’t run like the rest of the “premier” teams in the sport.
In this SI.com piece, the magazine named Angelos and Davis as the “two worst owners in sports.” So, please, don’t think that I’m being “original” on any level making this comparison.
But Oakland is clearly a zoo on a lot of levels. It must really suck to be a Raiders fan, especially when you hear this kind of stupidity and childish behavior.
Clearly, Roger Goodell is going to find this on his desk tomorrow morning and the fans and the pundits will be piling on Davis and how screwed up the Raiders are.
And this is on top of all of the allegations of Mike Shanahan from 20 years ago and Lane Kiffin’s bizarre departure last season amidst a sea of turmoil.
Geez…beating up your own assistants!
And these are the people RUNNING the organization?
Can you imagine John Harbaugh punching an assistant coach? Or Brian Billick? Or Marvin Lewis?
It just wouldn’t happen.
Now, of course, at least Rex Ryan could say that he has it in his DNA based on the Buddy-Kevin Gilbride episode.
Here’s a sample of an Al Davis press conference: