The best and most balanced obit for the Oakland Raiders' Al Davis, who died Saturday, was by Bruce Weber in the New York Times. There is, however, a curious and unexplained line in the story: "Wherever the team called home, Oakland or Los Angeles, Mr. Davis was a fan favorite — until he wasn't."
|Al Davis, circa 1970.|
Part of the explanation has to do with the word "extort."
We don't feel it's necessary to recount Davis's many accomplishments, and we grant that he was a "maverick," for whatever that may be worth. High on the list of those accomplishments is bringing a Hispanic coach, Tom Flores, and a black coach, Art Shell, into the NFL. He was also the first owner to put a woman, Amy Trask, into an executive position.
But it also should be remembered that he was one nasty son of a bitch when a player crossed him. We'll probably never know why he feuded with his great running back, Marcus Allen, unless Allen chooses to spill the beans. And Davis was an asshole to the end regarding the players' union. More »