Mark Davis: Firing Raiders PR head 'not at all' a shot at GM McKenzie

Mark Davis says Reggie McKenzie's job isn't in jeopardy because of the Raiders PR fiasco. (USATSI)
Mark Davis says Reggie McKenzie's job isn't in jeopardy because of the Raiders PR fiasco. (USATSI)

Just about a week ago, Raiders owner Mark Davis, son of the late Al Davis, made some serious waves when he fired Zak Gilbert, Oakland's public relations director and an employee hand-picked by GM Reggie McKenzie.

Gilbert was reportedly fired because the younger Davis didn't like the way his father was portrayed in a Sports Illustrated article by Jim Trotter; Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports then made waves by suggestingGilbert's firing put McKenzie on notice. Davis, however, is denying any such notion about McKenzie's job security.

"Not at all. Reggie understands why I made the decision I made," Davis told Monte Poole of the Bay Area News Group. "Look, I understand what Reggie is trying to do. Reggie's fine. He's the one guy that I've hired. I've got to give him room to do his job."

That's a nice sentiment, but it's somewhat difficult to swallow. Giving McKenzie room to do his job means giving him room to bring in his own hand-picked employees and not, you know, running them out of town. That being said, it's totally understandable why Davis wasn't a fan of the PR push coming from the Raiders. It was intended to put the blame for the Raiders' struggle on his late father. Even if it's true, no one wants to sit back and watch their father's legacy disgraced.

Davis did concede that he thinks Gilbert did a good job as head of PR but believes, Poole writes, "the next media-relations head must completely understand the significance of protecting the shield -- and, moreover, the man who built it and lived it until the day he died."

It's quite the conundrum for an owner who's admittedly swimming in water a lot deeper than he's used to. But Davis, who says that he plans to "be in the building more often" as the Raiders move forward, believes the best days of the Raiders are ahead of them.

"That's OK. My concern is winning," he said. "The Raiders will be great again. Write it down. The Raiders will be great again."

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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