Mark Davis acknowledges he got Jon Gruden first, fired Jack Del Rio only after

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Raiders owner Mark Davis confirmed what has been widely suspected: He got Jon Gruden to agree to become the next head coach of the Raiders first, then fired Jack Del Rio, then conducted the required Rooney Rule interviews.

After his press conference yesterday, Davis spoke to a group of Oakland reporters and acknowledged that he first felt like Gruden was serious about returning to the Raiders more than two months ago, when they met in Florida in late October or early November, according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.

At that point, the Raiders were 3-5 and Del Rio surely thought he still had time to turn the season around, get the team back to the playoffs and save his job. But Davis was already engaged in serious talks about bringing in Gruden as Del Rio’s successor. Complicating matters is that Gruden and Del Rio have the same agent. Del Rio can’t feel good about the fact that his agent had another client going behind his back to get his job.

Davis said that the agreement was solidified during a discussion on Christmas Eve. So while Gruden spent the rest of the season claiming during his ESPN work that the deal wasn’t done, it was done.

And Davis said that if Gruden hadn’t agreed to take the Raiders job, Del Rio probably would have remained in Oakland. Which means the job was never really open, and the Rooney Rule interviews of Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson were just a formality because the NFL requires them. Martin and Johnson never had a chance for the job because they were interviewing for a job that Gruden had already been offered and accepted.

91 responses to “Mark Davis acknowledges he got Jon Gruden first, fired Jack Del Rio only after

  1. This just proves that having the Rooney rule is actually more insulting to people of color. I wonder how many coaches were hired purely because of the Rooney rule. From the Raiders’ perspective, they simply handled what was in their best interest, which every team would have done. Hard to blame them too.

  2. Once again, the Rooney rule is useless if teams are giving token interviews to candidates who go into it without a shot at the job. I don’t know how you fix it, but in my opinion these token interviews are more offensive than if these candidates weren’t interviewed at all.

  3. Well yeah, that’s the only way you can do it. What, I’m suppose to fire someone without a replacement?

  4. Let’s stop pretending that Davis went by the letter or the spirit of the rule. Let’s stop thinking that the league cares or will do anything about it. 345 park Ave seems to be in a joint venture to support any situation, whether within or against it’s own rules, to bring together a team that can beat NE on a regular basis. The discrepancies in their application of their own rules confirm that Framegate was a complete lie.

  5. That’s some crooked business there…If the NFL really wants to look into it, they would definitely see they didn’t fully comply with the Rooney Rule and justifiable would be fined or loss of draft picks(or both).

  6. Can we stop with this Rooney rule nonsense yet? I appreciate the sentiment behind it, but the only colors any owner cares about is green for $$$ and silver for the Lombardi trophy. If they think you can deliver on either of those, you’re hired no matter where you came from.

  7. If there is no fine or punishment, then the Rooney rule needs to be removed. Some will argue it should be removed regardless.

  8. This revelation is going to lead to fines by the NFL. Not sure why he felt the need to reveal this information, even though we all knew this was the case.

  9. So it went like this. Thanks for coming on these bogus interviews. Hope you and your wife enjoyed the private jet. Penthouse suite and raiders credit card for the weekend.

  10. It makes total sense to try to get your guy before you fire the existing guy…thats why the rooney rule is stupid…….the big reason there wasnt black coaches before was the lack of black coordinators…the logical stepping stone…….some time back the nfl established a training program for guys to make a career in coaching….that has done more for black head coaches than the rooney rule

  11. John Gruden…meet Karma! Took a job while someone already had it. The deal was solidified on Christmas Eve and then Gruden broadcast the game the next day? Grinch! Now I’m glad his broadcast partner made him squirm by asking about a possible return to coaching.

  12. “Which means the job was never really open, and the Rooney Rule interviews of Tee Martin and Bobby Johnson were just a formality because the NFL requires them. Martin and Johnson never had a chance for the job because they were interviewing for a job that Gruden had already been offered and accepted”

    Now that’s racism. A token interview for appearance.
    Disgusting.

  13. That’s pretty sleazy on the agent’s and Davis’ part, and even more so on Gruden’s part, since he said on national TV that Del Rio is a “good friend of his”. I would never do something like that to a friend.

  14. The Rooney Rule is an absolute joke.

    If a billionaire wants to be racist and hire only white people then great for him, it will only hurt him by narrowing the field of good coaches…

  15. That happens all the time in real life. Gruden was going there before the season was over. No need to fire Del Rio during the season.

  16. Really, the Rooney Rule is what we’re supposed to be upset about? I’m upset for Jack Del Rio and how Mark Davis utterly screwed him over.

  17. So lets see. Fake News Story by Chris Mortensen 11 of 12 footballs under inflated. $1M fine, forfeited 1st round draft pick and QB suspended 4 games. Wonder what you get for not following the Rooney Rule!

  18. raideralex99 says: “This is one of the reason why football ratings are dropping …. Rooney rule is a joke.”
    —————-

    The Rooney Rule has been around since 2003. Over that time period, the ratings soared for the first 15 years. So you trying to blame the Rooney rule is completely moronic.

  19. @00otto says:

    It makes total sense to try to get your guy before you fire the existing guy…thats why the rooney rule is stupid…….the big reason there wasnt black coaches before was the lack of black coordinators…the logical stepping stone…….some time back the nfl established a training program for guys to make a career in coaching….that has done more for black head coaches than the rooney rule
    ===================================================================================To use your logic, more of the Black coordinators would be HC by now. How is that the NFC has one minority head coach? So all of the Black coordinators are being usurped by the QB coaches who are hired to work with the next young great QB.
    Remember, most of these teams play in stadiums funded by taxpayers. For that reason, I’d like to think more seriousness would be given to this matter. Attempting to get white americans to understand why the rule is needed is pointless because they are the majority (for now) and have that privilege.

  20. Nice try at making it seem it was a done deal. Until the dotted line is signed, nothing is guaranteed. Ask Greg Schiano how the Tennessee “agreement” worked out…

    Another fun fact: Gruden had been in discussion with the Raiders about a possible return on FOUR different occasions over the years. The previous three times Gruden backed off.

  21. Im sure by law, the agent is not allowed to tell another client the intentions of the other.(of course he was in it for the money, but still)

    ppl crying about rooney rule, do we know when the guys were interviews? was a contract signed? i need context.

    also, i get the spirit/intention of the rule, but i’d personally, rather not get used to check a box.

    “hey so i know you hear gruden is our guy, do you like football okay yes? well we are going in another direction.” Interview over.

  22. I wont defend that as nice or decent, I can even call it underhanded and crappy. But thats how business works folks. Those that are too offended by the practices to be comfortable in the business world, those too fixated on their perception of how things should be, really do not belong in that arena because they will just get chewed up and spit out. I repeat I am not trying to defend it, just saying how it is.

  23. arrowhead816 says:

    January 10, 2018 at 9:34 am

    That’s some crooked business there…If the NFL really wants to look into it, they would definitely see they didn’t fully comply with the Rooney Rule and justifiable would be fined or loss of draft picks(or both).
    ——————-
    Enjoy that choke job KC fan. ha ha ha

  24. Great job by Mark! got the man he wanted and wasn’t going to let no racist rule dictate to him how he was going to do it.

  25. stoolerz says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:12 am
    FORMALITY=TOKEN INTERVIEW

    ——————-
    This is exactly where the Rooney rule breaks down. Its good in a situation where a team is talking to all available candidates before making a decision. In that case no problem with the rule, in fact if there werent minority candidates included in such a orocess I can see it likely someone was conciously excluded. But sometimes a manager/ceo/owner already knows the exact person they want for a specific job. This is usually because they feel that person’s skills and traits are perfectly what they seek and nit a knock on anyone else. I myself have felt that way (someone I had worked well with previoysly or was somehow familar with) and hired accordingly. In fact, I have had cases (some not all) where that person was a minority so no ‘majority’ candidates ever got considered. In those cases I dont believe there is anything unfair about it, I was going for who I though best suited for the job with no care about race or gender or anything beyond qualifications.i think if there was some rule that I had to conduct certain interviews anyhow I would be torn because on one hand my way out is to gave a few in holding a straight face and making them go through a process they have no chance in, on the other hand I dont want to do that because despite not hiring them they do have my respect and best wishes so I have no desire to treat them that way.

  26. Disagree, I think when the Steelers hired Tomlin he was not their intended hire. However he blew them away in the interview. In addition, interviewing also gives these other two candidates experience and exposure. While they may not have got the Raiders job they will be better prepared for future opportunities.

    I have stated before the integrity of the Raiders should not be questioned. They hire the best person for the job. Hispanic, Black, Women or White.

  27. Even if you don’t like the Rooney Rule, it’s STILL a rule that needs to be followed or else the team faces punitive measures. Not sure how pointing that out is a bad thing. It’s a completely different discussion – is the rule good/bad? versus was the rule violated?

  28. The Rooney rule can be a bit of a mockery, for sure. But I think it’s also worth considering that the intent of the rule is to give more minority candidates exposure for head coaching positions that they otherwise wouldn’t have been considered for. Allowing some of these candidates the opportunity to get in front of these owners and GMs and hopefully impress, should lead to further opportunities down the road.

    As for Davis, he’s openly mocking the Rooney rule requirement. The league needs to make a statement with this.

  29. Was Mike Tomlin hired just because the color of his skin?
    Was Jon Gruden hired just because of the color of his skin?
    Marvin Lewis? Mike Zimmer? Hue Jackson? Ron Rivera? John Harbaugh? etc.
    No. They were not hired because of the color of their skin. They are NFL Head Coaches.
    NOt NFL Black head Coaches, White head coaches, or Hispanic head coaches. When everybody takes the color and ethnicity out of the equation, we might get somewhere.

  30. So! They were forced by the NFL to interview two people they didn’t want to. Making a team do that is ridiculous. John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the NFL decided the Raiders satisfied the Rooney Rule. It sounds illogical that every team goes into the interview process without knowing who they want.

  31. jimmysee says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:23 am

    G.M. Reggie McKenzie just became Mr. Irrelevant.

    Hardly, it takes a team of good people working together. They have a GB bloodline and are trying to hire another personnel guy from the Packers, Eliot Wolf. His father has a history with the raiders.

  32. There should be a Rooney rule for football hires across the board. Since certain positions are disproportionately made up of one race (like RB, WR, CB, S), these positions should be open to Rooney rule to balance racial stereotypes at all levels of the game.

  33. He did not “hire” anyone until after he did the other interviews. He may have had an agreement in place but did not hire Him yet. So therefore the Rooney (dumb rule ) rule was followed.

  34. silvernblacksabbath says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Enjoy that choke job KC fan. ha ha ha
    ———————

    That’s rich, coming from a resident of RaiderIsland.

  35. re: Rooney Rule. I do not think it is ridiculous or a waste of time. It’s all about opportunity. Interviewing is how people get to know you. Maybe the current job is already filled; but the interview gives the candidate an opportunity to present himself and leave a positive impression. It widens the network for interview candidates and can lead to opportunities in the future. If I were given the opportunity to interview at that level, I’d surely take it. Who knows where it could lead. The more people who know you and are impressed with you, the better.

  36. The admission of not applying the Rooney Rule until after Davis had done the deal with Gruden is actually a great test for Commissioner Goodell. Either the rule gets dropped with agreement from the owners as suggested above or Davis should be penalized via a fine and or a draft pick. There is no middle ground. If Goodell totally ignores the matter, then it confirms his leadership is weakened.

  37. I think people don’t understand what the Rooney Rule is. As some have pointed out, it’s a chance for minority coaches to get an interview they may not have in the past. It’s not a guarantee of a position. The rule may be an after thought in a lot of situations, but it still gives coaches a chance to be seen and heard. This may lead to future opportunities that others won’t have.

    Most here are overlooking the fact that the best candidate should still receive the job. Not based on anything other than qualifications. If there is another Super Bowl winning coach on the market who is a minority then bring him to the table please.

    As for the Raiders. Please stop with the racist talk. They were the first to hire minority coaches and have women in the front office. That doesn’t give them a lifetime pass, but they’ve always been progressive in hiring the best candidate regardless of background. Tom Flores, Art Shell, and Amy Trask would all agree I’m sure.

  38. Conservatives/ far right wingers hate the Rooney rule.

    When you’re used to privilege, equality appears as oppression

  39. The Rooney rule needs to go. It is an actual racist practice that was supposed to mitigate a perceived racist practice. It is essentially saying that minorities should be given an opportunity that they were not capable of earning. That concept is absurd. There are plenty of quality coaches that happen to be minorities. NFL is about money and there is no way an owner will say he would rather make less money but hire a white coach. What the Rooney rule does is force teams to jump through hoops to comply with a bogus requirement. People say that it gives some minority coaches exposure and practice interviews. That may be true but what it also does is alter the perception of some coaches as well. There are no doubt token interviews but there are also legit interviews with minority coaches and those coaches are harmed by the rule because it removes their merit from the narrative. Get rid of it.

  40. Sleazy team making sleazy deals. Raiders gonna Raider. Even Chucky won’t be enough reason to pull the tarps off.

  41. The Rooney Rule is terrible. Doesn’t it only require that a minority be interviewed in the process? How can the NFL possibly say that you must interview the mino and not have a better liking for another candidate at the same time. DUMP RR. It’s racist!

  42. Mark Davis did the right thing according to the Rooney rule. Even if a deal was in place with Gruden it still could’ve fallen through at signing time. So Mark DID do the right thing !!

  43. The ignorance here is off the hook.

    Yes, Mark Davis had been after Grtuden for years, way before Del Rio was hired.

    Del Rio sealed his fate when he fired the OC (Bill Musgrave) and gave the job to the QB Coach, (Todd Downing) and the offense took a major hit. It was a stupid decision, he stuck his neck out by fixing something that wasn’t broken.

    As for what they’re paying Gruden, it’s not ALL about coaching, it’s about about his star power and Las Vegas. Gruden will make the organization a lot of money, making his contract look small in comparison.

  44. The Rooney Rule is fine, but I don’t think the biggest supporters of the rule would believe that anyone in the world was a better coaching candidate for the Oakland Raiders than Jon Gruden. The Rooney Rule was put in place to encourage fair hiring practices. The NFL has more minorities in high level, high paying jobs, than any other industry I can think of. The NFL has served as a great role model for equal hiring practices. So the rule is working fine. Let’s not get stupid or there will be a backlash. Mark Davis has known Gruden for years. He’s very comfortable around him. Gruden has won a super bowl, and he has taken the Raiders to the brink of a super bowl. The bottom line is Jon Gruden was the most qualified person for the job, which is exactly what the Rooney Rule was put in place for. To make sure the most qualified guy gets the job, regardless of race. Mark Davis and Gruden probably agreed many years ago that Jon would eventually be their coach. I’m sure Tony Dungy has spoken to owners who told him they’d hire him on the spot if he ever wanted to get back in.

  45. silvernblacksabbath says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:20 am
    arrowhead816 says:

    January 10, 2018 at 9:34 am

    That’s some crooked business there…If the NFL really wants to look into it, they would definitely see they didn’t fully comply with the Rooney Rule and justifiable would be fined or loss of draft picks(or both).
    ——————-
    Enjoy that choke job KC fan. ha ha ha

    ——————-
    Before you can choke you first have to win.

  46. Del Rio knew he was getting fired before he actually was. You could tell by the way he coached the last couple of games, that was a man who was coaching to try to save his job.I don’t buy Mark Davis saying he’d still be the coach if Gruden didn’t come back.

  47. joetoronto says:
    January 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm
    The ignorance here is off the hook. —- No Your ignorance is off the hook.

    Del Rio sealed his fate when he fired the OC (Bill Musgrave)— Musgraves contract was up, he was not fired— and gave the job to the QB Coach, (Todd Downing) —Downing was reportedly the next “Big Time” OC around the league and on the short list of many teams to interview as OC for the 2018 season — and the offense took a major hit. — Know your facts before you call people ignorant and refute their ignorance with ignorance.

  48. 1heatedtoombrayduh says:
    January 10, 2018 at 10:16 am
    Im sure by law, the agent is not allowed to tell another client the intentions of the other.(of course he was in it for the money, but still)

    ppl crying about rooney rule, do we know when the guys were interviews? was a contract signed? i need context.

    also, i get the spirit/intention of the rule, but i’d personally, rather not get used to check a box.

    “hey so i know you hear gruden is our guy, do you like football okay yes? well we are going in another direction.” Interview over.
    ******************************************************************************************
    The opening paragraph explains that they got Gruden to agree first, then fired Del Rio, and then complied with the Rooney Rule.

  49. Why is it even called the “Rooney Rule” if Al Davis was the first owner to hire a black head coach [Art Shell] in the modern era. (not counting player/coach Fritz Pollard of the 1920’s) He also hired the first Hispanic head coach too. [Tom Flores] – Heck, the Raiders are ahead of everyone on social issues/equality in regards to NFL hiring, so this Gruden thing ain’t squat.

  50. While I am not the biggest fan of the Rooney rule, I do believe that getting minority coaching candidates in front of owners, GMs, and other front office execs.

    What the NFL should look to do more than the Rooney rule would be to setup networking events for potential candidates so that they can get in front of the different team execs.

    There was even an article today talking about how the GM position is more about who you know than what you know. If you think this isn’t the case with HCs you are mistaken.

    That is how it is in the real world as well, in a lot of cases.

  51. granadafan says:
    January 10, 2018 at 11:18 am
    Conservatives/ far right wingers hate the Rooney rule.

    When you’re used to privilege, equality appears as oppression
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You need some remedial training. Preferential treatment does not mean equal treatment. True equality would require the elimination of a rule that boosts a person’s stature solely because of their race. When people have victimization mentality, they want others to do for them what they refuse to do for themselves. The Rooney rule basically says minorities need to be helped because they aren’t good enough to do it on their own. It is insulting, not helpful.

  52. granadafan says:
    January 10, 2018 at 11:18 am
    Conservatives/ far right wingers hate the Rooney rule.

    When you’re used to privilege, equality appears as oppression
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You need some remedial training. Preferential treatment does not mean equal treatment. True equality would require the elimination of a rule that boosts a person’s stature solely because of their race. When people have victimization mentality, they want others to do for them what they refuse to do for themselves. The Rooney rule basically says minorities need to be helped because they aren’t good enough to do it on their own. It is insulting, not helpful.

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