Monday was a bad day for the Raiders, and also a good day. It all depends on the perspective you take. After years of litigation and law suits, the Raiders closed the book on an ugly part of their history when the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the NFL on an appeal to a 2001 ruling.
The case stemmed from a lawsuit that Al Davis brought against the league for undermining a stadium deal at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles. The case was appealed after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell ordered a new trial amid accusations that a juror was biased against the team and Davis for losing money on a football bet.
The court ruled in favor of the league because the judge didn’t provide details of the juror’s misconduct. Losing a court case isn’t exactly the best way to kick off your week, but what Davis really needs to do is to cut his losses and use this as the first day of the rest of his team’s life so to speak.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Raiders have suffered on the field as a result of Davis’ legal exploits. How many new rules have been enacted because some referee twisted the spirit of the rule book on a fluke play by the Raiders?
The NFL is a club and Davis tried to exploit the club because he felt that he was being singled out. The result of those actions have resulted in 20 years of inequalities on the field. I’m not saying that referees were instructed to deal with the Raiders differently, but it’s only human nature for those referees to exact a little spite on behalf of the league. Who pays their salaries?
So now Davis has that litigation behind him. It’s time to move forward. Heck, why not even attempt to establish a little good will with the league and the other owners. There is no doubt that Al Davis is a respected football man. The same can’t be said for his reputation as a businessman.
The fact of the matter is, the league is not like any other business in the world. In the real world, you defeat your opponents by eating them for lunch. The NFL’s success is largely dependent on the ability for the league to market its product as a whole. It’s not communism, but football owners are franchisees. If the franchise goes belly up, so do the franchisees. Eating your own doesn’t work in this type of business.
In attempting to strengthen his franchise, he ended up doing more harm than good along the way. The slate will never be wiped clean if he doesn’t make amends with the rest of the league. As he spends the twilight years of his ownership run, he should be revered not reviled.
Dropping his existing lawsuits with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority was a start. Now he needs to show the rest of the league that the Raiders can be a contributor to the greater good of the league. When that happens, the wins will follow.
The desperado needs to come in from the rain and start mending fences.
Labels: Al Davis, NFL