Long before the NFL felt compelled to force teams to interview at least one minority candidate for every head-coaching vacancy, late Raiders owner Al Davis was doing the right thing when it comes to matters of diversity, without having to be nudged in that direction.
In 1989, Davis hired Art Shell to coach the Raiders. The move made Shell only the second African-American head coach in pro football, and the first in the modern era of the sport. A decade before that, Davis hired Tom Flores, the first Hispanic coach in NFL history.
Perhaps almost as significantly, Davis installed — in a sport dominated by men — Amy Trask into the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Though the NFL often regarded as problematic the unique manner in which Al Davis advanced the interests of the Raiders (especially when litigation was involved), the league would have been much better off if the other owners had followed his lead before (ironically) fears of litigation required the NFL to create embarrassingly artificial regulations aimed at coercing billionaires to do the right thing.