The Raiders' Lost Of Al Davis
The Raiders' Lost Of Al Davis
When I first came to these shores from the Caribbean, my dad took to the task of introducing me to American Football – to this day, it is my favorite sport. Yesterday, Al Davis, the owner and head cheerleader of the Raiders of my favorite football team, went to meet his maker. We all know of the iconic logo of the Silver & Black and the ‘maverick’ mystique associated with the Oakland Raiders’ team. Yes, it is true that the mystique is not what it is used to be, but I am no fair weather fan of the Silver & Black, but have stuck with the team through weal and woe.
I, among many, respected my Davis because he took chances on players who the professional football pundits say were ‘washed up;’ and, normally, these so called ‘washed up’ players were African Americans. To give credence to Mr. Davis’ penchant for hiring minorities…, as a movie aficionado, I remember watching the classic movie, Apocalypse Now, where one of the characters… in seeing so many Blacks in the Army, said that the Army had more niggers serving in the Vietnam theatre than the Oakland Raiders. And lest we forget that it was Al Davis who hired the first African American, Art Shell, as a head coach in the National Football League.
I remembered watching my Raiders under the quarterbacking of Jim Plunkett beating the Eagles and my father, who is normally calm and cool, joyously losing it. I also remembered when my dad became disillusioned with the Raiders because Mr. Davis moved the team to Los Angeles - to this day, my dad has not returned as a fan, but gave his fan allegiance to the 49ers. One of my favorite memories when I served in the Army in Germany was being on a joint training mission with the Germans in the mountains and having our Colonel doing I, among the other soldiers, an enormous favor by bringing us back to see the Super Bowl between the Raiders and the Redskins – this is the Super Bowl where Marcus Allen ran all over the Washington Redskins.
Mr. Davis was hated by many, but under his ownership he won three Super Bowls; and yes, because of those past laurels, those of us who are die-hard Raiders fans could now forgive Mr. Davis for picking J. Marcus Russell as the Raiders' quarterback. Ironically, the Raiders are playing better than they have played in years, and, at the death of Mr. Davis at age 82, he was still at the helm of the Raiders organization.
I am certain that there are some football owners who hated Mr. Davis because, like George Steinbrenner in Baseball, he started paying football athletes millions, a pay-scale then that was an aberration. I supposed now that all of the high paid Football players should give Mr. Davis props for their lucrative salaries and perks that are now part and parcel of the game. I hope that you are resting in peace Mr. Davis… and personally, I hope you have finally put together once again a Raider team that will go to the football promise land (Super Bowl) – Go Silver & Black!