Raiders fans correctly have pointed out that the decision by owner Mark Davis to fire P.R. director Zak Gilbert has no connection to the team’s performance on the field. Still, Gilbert was hired not by Davis but by G.M. Reggie McKenzie, who supposedly has been given the keys to the car.
The willingness of Davis to dump a guy McKenzie had brought to Oakland just last year invites speculation as to whether McKenzie has as much power as believed. It also makes us wonder whether McKenzie is as safe as advertised for the full five years of his contract.
Meanwhile, the reported reason for Gilbert’s termination continues to make many scratch their heads. Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated, who wrote the item that reportedly made Davis decide to dump Gilbert, told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that Gilbert had nothing to do with the article.
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, who reported on the confounding cause-and-effect between the Trotter article and Gilbert’s pink slip, explained on Monday’s PFT Live that Davis has not yet broken out the overhead projector to illustrate the reasons for the move. Tafur said a perfunctory statement was issued by the team on Sunday night; the fact that it wasn’t sent out to the team’s email database or posted on the team’s website suggests that, absent Gilbert, the Silver and Black will be returning to the P.R. dark ages.
While the next P.R. director could be inclined to try to continue what Gilbert started, what competent P.R. professional with options will want the job? If Mark Davis is willing to fire his P.R. chief for something over which the P.R. chief had no control, few will embrace the challenge of tiptoeing through a mine field that includes mines that explode even if you don’t step on them.