Davis, the son of the late Al Davis, decided to fire team PR director Zak Gilbert because he was upset with the way he and his father were portrayed in a recent SI article, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur.
Sports Illustrated writer Jim Trotter spent a season with the Raiders and wrote about the team in a feature for the April 22 edition of the magazine, entitled “The New Silver and Black.” The story was mostly about how GM Reggie McKenzie was making over the franchise and bringing the team into the modern era after they fell into the dark ages under an aging and senile Al Davis.
We noted two specific items in the story that stood out and wrote about them here at LBS. One story was that McKenzie was pretty incredulous that the Raiders didn’t have a full-time groundskeeper under Davis. The other was how an agent was able to get an extra $1 million out of Davis in negotiations because his memory was so bad.
The Chronicle’s Tafur reports that Gilbert had been on leave since the article came out, pending Davis’ decision concerning his future. Gilbert worked for the team for a year. He was brought in by McKenzie, a former co-worker with the Green Bay Packers.
Despite being fired, Gilbert had a classy response.
“I’d like to thank Mark Davis for the honor of serving the Raiders, and Reggie McKenzie for hiring me. I leave holding my chin up, knowing I dedicated every waking hour to promoting a positive image for our team. The co-workers in my Raiders family are extraordinary; the camaraderie we built was really special. Talking to Raiders fans on a weekly basis, I learned first-hand that their passion and loyalty is unmatched. I have great respect for the team’s rich history and took seriously the role of preserving it. Although disappointed that I can’t remain on the ride, I wish Reggie and Dennis Allen absolutely nothing but success in a bright future.”
You know the irony in all this? Mark Davis’ decision to fire his PR director brought so much more negative light to the franchise than the article did. What a dumb move.