August 25, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis (left) and general manager Reggie McKenzie (right) watch before the game against the Detroit Lions at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Should We Care That Mark Davis Fired His PR Director?

When we think of overreaching authority, the NSA or Jerry Jones may come to mind.

So might the Davis family, in particular the late Al Davis, whose repeated (and impatient) personnel missteps since Super Bowl XXXVII dismantled the Raiders.  His son and current owner, Mark Davis, may have inherited his swollen ego based by a recent development.

On June 1 Davis fired media relations director Zak Gilbert, who was trusted by general manager Reggie McKenzie and began work a year ago.  Reports hinted his dismissal was due to his input provided in an April Sports Illustrated article which had portrayed the elder and junior Davis in an unflattering light.

At first impression, Davis seems to be channeling his father and flexing muscle to shape the team to his preferences.

But the more we get to know Davis, the more we realize he is nothing like his Hall of Fame dad (which is a good thing, if you’ve been paying any attention for the past decade).

He doesn’t possess the football instincts of his old man, but Davis recognizes his limitations, which is why the owner appointed a defined G.M., a first in Silver and Black history.  Unlike Al, who habitually confided in himself, Mark reached out to ex-Raiders John Madden and Ron Wolf in 2011 to help steer the franchise before settling with McKenzie.

“Reggie understands why I made the decision I made,” Davis told the San Jose Mercury News when asked about Gilbert’s removal.  “I’ve got to give him room to do his job.”

The quote leads us to ponder, is canning the man your G.M. hired not intruding into his personal space?

Not so if you’re the boss writing the checks, and the employee cashing them is mucking up your name.

Davis went on to tell the newspaper that slandering the Raiders’ and his father’s legacy will not be tolerated, so a hard line has been drawn.  Until McKenzie, Dennis Allen or Charles Woodson mouth off on the organization, we should expect their positions to be safe.

Understand that P.R. directors come and go in every industry so often that it’s not big news.  My only advice to Davis is to change his hairdo if he cares about the franchise’s perception.

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Tags: Al Davis Fired Mark Davis Oakland Raiders Zak Gilbert

  • Glenn

    It’s called being the boss. Piss off the boss, ya get fired.

    • Rui Thomas

      Yup. Gilbert forgot his role.

  • R. Christopher Meyer

    Little people make fun of others for what they look like. Al Davis was a great man and you should concentrate on that when you speak of him if you want people to think you know anything at all.

    • Rui Thomas

      I appreciate your input. I failed to mention I used to wear a bowl cut, and I was teased a lot for it, so I know if Mark Davis chopped it off it would improve the Raiders’ and his credibility, as it did mine. I know the team and many NFL folks owe Al Davis everything, but he did stumble after 2003, which was what the SI article was focused about.

  • R. Christopher Meyer

    Al Davis ran the team he loved at the age of 82. Who has been able to do that other than Mr. Davis. He has passed and he deserves nothing other than the utmost respect. As a matter of fact, he had them in the Super Bowl only 10 years ago. He did it his way and he came from humble beginnings. Marks haircut remains irrelevant in larger minds and only a way to make ones self feel or look better at the expense of another. Trust me though, it lowers the discussion.

    • Rui Thomas

      He did it his way, and he was right most of the time, but he still made mistakes, which shouldn’t be ignored for the sake of preserving his legacy. You could say Davis was responsible for the Super Bowl loss since he traded Jon Gruden, but I do truly miss that 2002 squad, because they were older and gritty and I thought they personified Davis on the field. But ok I will quit the hair jokes. Thanks.

      • Raida12

        Gruden was ‘traded’ because he wanted to have personnel input and with Al, that just wasn’t going to happen. The trade was the first of it’s kind and at the time, considered to be a genius move, getting TWO #1 draft picks and TWO #2s! In his declining health, he made moves out of the desperation of wanting one last trophy and yes, he was unwilling to adapt to many ways of the new NFL but still, I’d say the man’s accomplishments over 40+ years should far, far outweigh anything of his last 10. There was never any ‘dysfunction’ as the E!SPiN heads like to say. It was all simply Al’s way and everyone knew that! So, how do you follow a legacy of that magnitude? Mark Davis is doing just fine…

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