The Oakland Raiders have made many changes to their franchise since the death of Al Davis and the new ownership took over, but in my opinion, this may have been one of their more questionable moves.
According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Raiders fired P.R. director Zak Gilbert on Saturday for a variety of reasons, including failing to protect head coach Dennis Allen from the media.
Sources told Tafur that Allen “didn’t think Gilbert did a good enough job of protecting him from the media in his rookie season.”
I don’t get it. How do you “protect” someone from the media? If Allen didn’t want to be hoarded by reporters, all he had to do was tell them he wasn’t available to speak and turn off his phone. What did he want Gilbert to do? Come in with a sledgehammer every time a reporter asked Allen a question?
Tafur also reported that owner Mark Davis was “unhappy” with an article that came out on Sports Illustrated after the season that painted Davis and his father, Al, in a somewhat negative manner.
Here are a few excerpts from that article, written by SI’s Jim Trotter:
But as his health deteriorated, so did the fortunes of the franchise. With every losing season Davis became more desperate for another title, and he knowingly mortgaged the future in a quest for immediate gratification. Among the most painful moves: In 2005 he traded a first-round draft pick (No. 7) and starting linebacker Napoleon Harris to the Vikings for Randy Moss, whose production was dropping in tandem with his attitude; and in ’09 he sent the No. 17 pick to New England for Seymour, who was a month from his 30th birthday and entering the final year of his contract.
In free agency he gave insanely inflated deals with large guarantees to receiver Javon Walker, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, safety Gibril Wilson and tight end Kevin Boss-only to see Hall released after eight games, Wilson and Boss after one season and Walker after 11 games. He also turned the market upside down by awarding megadeals to his own free agents, notably Seymour and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
Having read through the entire piece, I do not see a single incorrect statement in the article. It is true that Al Davis make several rash decisions near the end of his tenure, and the story even describes how an agent took advantage of the late owner and got $1 million more for his client in a free agent contract.
The story may have shone a negative light on Davis, but none of it was even close to being untrue, and it definitely should not have led to the firing of the team’s P.R. director.
Plus, I was unaware that writers needed the approval of the team before they wrote an article on them. Don’t we have freedom of the press for a reason?