- By Dan Becker
Al Davis the villain?
Al Davis was labeled a maverick and villain for the NFL. The Las Vegas Raiders late owner had a complicated legacy.
He was however an early champion of civil rights. As black history month is upon us let’s take a look back at Raiders history and their legacy in civil rights.
Al Davis took over as head coach and general manager of the then Oakland Raiders in 1963. He soon stood with his players in his very first season. An Exhibition game was scheduled to be played in 1963 between the Raiders and NY Jets in Mobile, Alabama.
The Ladd Memorial Stadium had segregated seating. 6 of his black players decided to boycott the game. Standing with his players, Davis forced the game to be moved Oakland.
In 1968, Davis choose to draft Eldridge Dickey who was the first black quarterback taken in the NFL Draft. Dickey played well in both the 1968 and 1969 preseasons paving the way for quarterbacks to follow.
In 1989, Davis perhaps changed the landscape of the NFL hiring the first black coach in the modern era in Art Shell. In 1990, Shell lead the Raiders to a birth in the AFC Championship Game.
One of the many slogans, Al Davis championed for the Raiders was “Commitment to Excellence”.
It seems he applied that off the field as well.