While watching Tuesday’s we’ll-never-forget-where-you-were-at-that-moment press conference from Raiders owner Al Davis, there was a point where it initially sounded as if Davis called ESPN’s Chris Mortensen a professional liar.
But then as we continued to listen to the words of Davis and assessed them in context, we assumed Davis was talking about Kiffin.
Over the past 24 hours, we’ve talked with various league and media sources about whether Davis was talking about Mort or Kiffin, and there was a split of opinion in this regard.
ESPN concluded that Davis wasn’t talking about Mort.  “Davis made multiple references to Kiffin as a liar during the press conference,” ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer told the San Jose Mercury News.  “We made the determination that he was referring to Kiffin and we stand behind that.”
During a Tuesday interview of Kiffin, ESPN’s Trey Wingo seemed to go out of his way to point out that Davis had called Kiffin (and thus not Mort) a “professional liar.”
On Wednesday, Raiders spokesman Mike Taylor told the Mercury News that Davis was referring to Mortensen, not Kiffin.
And so, per Davis, Mortensen is a professional liar.
Though we were impressed by the performance on Tuesday of the 79-year-old owner and we sense that he truly believes everything that he said, there’s no basis for calling Mortensen a liar of either the professional or amateur variety.
When reporting on the Kiffin situation, Mortensen was simply doing his job.  If Kiffin or his agent were feeding information to Mort and Mort reported it, Mort was merely the messenger.  Sure, there are journalistic principles to consider such as whether Mortensen sought a reaction from the Raiders before going with a given story, but failure to do so doesn’t make him a liar unless he actually knows that his source is lying to him.
Our position on this shouldn’t be interpreted as a favor for a colleague in the industry.  I’m not really part of the industry, and we’ve called out Mort in the past when, for example, he tried to blame a swing and a miss on the fact that his source was simply wrong.  Still, I’m just a guy with a computer who calls B.S. when he sees or smells it.  And it’s B.S. for Davis to take a shot like that at Mortensen.
Sure, there are some folks in the industry who are liars.  Mortensen, however, isn’t one of them.
And that’s no lie.


  1. ESPN ragged on the Davis press conference as highlights played, they are biased in reporting & sometimes won’t back off an untrue story that why there is a distrust amoung organizations. Davis might have meant taht by calling Mort a liar.
    Ex: Belicheck & Tom Jackson incident w Lawyer Malloy.

  2. Mike…dig a little deeper….go back to LaMonte/Gruden and you will know what he is talking about…..I won’t charge you for the tip.
    “Noel Devine cannot carry Joe McKnight’s Spit bucket”

  3. Most sport pundits love to bash the Raiders…
    ESPN and Mort do it the best…
    As “Fair and Balanced” as Fox news.

  4. Hunter S. Thompson was right: “Al Davis makes Darth Vader look like a punk”.
    Lowell Cohn, a Bay Area columnist and noted Al Davis critic said this about him yesterday:
    “He is a strong willful man and the last thing you feel for him is pity, although you feel a kind of awe — something Kiffin learned too late.
    You feel awe for a man who will have his way, for a man who will get you if he feels crossed, for a man who will fight harder and longer and dirtier than you ever would or could.”
    Long live Al Davis.

  5. My goodness Florio, you’re infatuated with this press conference. Is Al Davis secretly your grandfather and are looking for any hint that he’s “still sharp as a whistle”?

  6. “Yikes”???? Is all you can say after defending Al?
    Al has totally lost it and I hope not only does Kiffin become part owner of the Raiders I would like to see Mort become his partner, slander suits can do that.
    Go ahead defend Al Davis a little more now.
    Journalistic Principles. LOL How about basic journalism, that would be a good start. Taking sides before all the information is in is stupid.

  7. I like it how Florio set himself up an out after taking heat for the last 24 hours’ of crotch nuzzling of Davis.
    Well played Florio, well played

  8. You keep saying you’re “impressed” by Davis. Impressed that he seemed to keep his diaper dry during the press conference? Or what? Please explain…

  9. Its fascinating that yesterday Al Davis was a still sharp as a tack and as honest as they come when he was trashing his 400th coach Lane Kiffin, but now he’s crossed the line in calling Mort a professional liar…
    The truth is Al Davis is as evil as he is delusional. If it isn’t enough that he goes through head coaches like socks (many of whom have gone on to become some of the winningest coaches in the league) what he did to Marcus Allen was criminal. In that context, it is wholly laughable to consider Al Davis the victim in the Davis/Kiffin situation. I hope Kiffin wins the superbowl with an AFC rival in the future.

  10. “Though we were impressed by the performance on Tuesday of the 79-year-old owner and we sense that he truly believes everything that he said…”
    Seriously Florio? History also shows that Hitler and the majority of his commanders “truly believed everything that they said,” BUT THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM RIGHT. After reading your posts regarding this matter in the past two days I was forced to register to make comments on this site solely for this reason. You really need to go back and think about what you’re saying here. Convicted killers sitting in jail still INSIST that they are innocent, are you saying that simply because they “believe everything that they say” that they have been wrongly imprisoned? Hell let’s just let ’em out, I mean they do BELIEVE that they didn’t kill anyone so thats good enough for me!
    I’ve read before that you’re a lawyer, but what accredited law school would ever teach you this? Reconsider your points please Mike, and put up a post that fixes all of this. At first (after your first post Al Davis press conference) I thought you were just laying the sarcasm on PRETTY thick, but I can now sense that you TRULY BELIEVE WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. Please stop.

  11. Raiders are a joke of a franchise and the crypt keeper Al Davis needs to sell this team already. Better yet….keep the team Al! I love to see this team and their dirty fans suffer!!!

  12. Mike, baby, sweety we love you, but whats going on? This article completely sounded as if you were attempting to gain street cred with the boys at Bristol or at least an attempt to put on the performance that you intend to be a member of the actual media sometime in the near future. Stop this! Stay on the darkside
    The NFC East may be full of beasts, but the AFC West is full of teams that will:
    Ask you to commit to excellence, proclaim you a liar, with cause, and operate by a nocturnal millionaire who hates sunlight.
    Polygraph you about the crimes you’ve been caught doing, while wearing a kevlar vest, and holding a grudge against the nocturnal millionaire.
    Have stadium full of fans from Missouri doing the tomahawk chop, while prospecting who they will draft #1 next year
    Have your team go 13-3 and then fire your head coach because the GM doesn’t like him and re-hire a coach who the nocturnal millionaire fired.

  13. Mortenson is a liar. He also has an agenda to mistreat any news concerning the Raiders. Take off your hate blinders and watch the sports franchise that gets THE worst, most biased, coverage of any team in the world.
    Combine that with a coach who is feeding the moron media what they want to spread like a disease, and you have Kiffin sitting in his living room with leopard chairs in the background, lol.

  14. If Vince Young were a Raider it would be spun that he caved to the pressure of Al. And it would still be front line news. You are all duped by your stereotype based hate and wanting to hear bad things about the Raiders. Putting others down to make yourself feel better. Really mature. Mort can create his own stories and you all buy them, hook, line and stinker.
    Isn’t Jamarcus 3 biscuits? Ryan fired? Kiffin fired three weeks ago? No one will work for him? Al tries not to respond but there are limits to what someone can take, and I do not blame him for coming with the goods against Punky Kiffster. It isn’t fashionable to agree with Davis, but those with a brain do.
    Mortenson tells you what you want to hear. I am telling you what you need to hear.

  15. Impressed? Impressed with the inane ramblings of a bitter and obviously senile old man who is trying to pin the blame for the sorry state of his franchise on a coach he hired years after the decline started? Do you remember where the Raiders were when they hired Kiffin? Do you remember why they hired Kiffin? Because no one within the NFL would even consider the job! Impressed? Wow!
    PS @ unctaylo: Apparently the JDs are beside the MBAs on the “Free, take one.” table at WVU.

  16. Doesn’t Davis realize he’s not going to find a quality coach willing to take over the cluster-F in Oakland?
    Name a quality Raiders head coach since Gruden.
    Go ahead.
    I’ll wait.

  17. Seems to me you are posting without paying attention to what Mort has said. He was on Mike and Mike this mornin and addressed his lies. Not only does he stand by his reporting, he states that many of his reports come from multiple sources and/or not Kiffin. The most telling example is Davis saying they spoke after the Buffalo game. Mort claims their were numerous witnesses and sources to the Davis coming up to Kiffin but not saying anything, after being creeped out by the old bag Kiffin asked, do we need to talk or somethin, and Davis said, no, it’s not important, I have nothing to talk to you about. (Something to that effect.) So everyone can decide for themselves if that is “talking” and if Davis, Kiffin, and/or Mort are the liars.

  18. I find it increasingly amusing to read the haters going on about howmuch money Kiffin is going to win a court from Al Davis. Here’s a wake up call doofus’…. i am no lawyer but I can pretty clearly see that the best Kiffin will get will be 3.5 milion plus court costs. And THAT isn’t even likely to happen.
    Al Davis has dirty hands. Sure bet. But ultimately it is Kiffin who is hurt the most here. It is crystal clear what Kiffin’s motivations have been all along. It was pretty clear he was using Oakland as a means to a better job somewhere else from the start. Plus the money he planned to purge from Oakland. Do I blame him? Certainly not. But this is the thing… he could have accomplished the same goal without being a turd. So he has clearly hurt himself. It’s not like he didn’t know what he was getting into wit Oakland.
    Shame on Al Davis for expecting his coach to do what he expected to do.
    Shame on Al for expecting his coach to do what he was told.
    Shame on Al for protecting his troops.
    Shame on Al fopr giving the guy a chance and misjudging him.
    Shame on Al for rewarding loyalty to him employees.
    Shame on Al for discarding disloyal employees who disrupt the organization.
    Shame on Al for allowing his employees the freedom to make responsible choices when he knows many won’t.
    Shame on Al for giving people eond, third and fourth chances.
    Shame on Al for being obsessed and protective about his 800 million dollar business.
    Shame on Al for giving the press his side to the story 9 months late.
    Shame on Al for having opinions about things controversial related to football.
    Shame on Al for standing up for himself.
    And most of all.. shame on Florio for looking at both sides of a situation.
    You all should step back and look at yourselves to see how ignorant some you are being. Al Davis has dirty hands. Sure bet. But the majority of complaints are just dumb, and to be frank, quite biased. Get over yourselves and quit hating. Try spending some that energy supporting your worthless teams. Because maybe if they were better… you wouldn’t have to spend so much energy trashing Oakland.

  19. Oh yeah.. one more thing… For the Marcus Allen sympathizers… you must not remember the dirt on Marcus Allen that was exposed during the OJ trial huh? Is it possible that Marcus got what he deserved? Naw…. and T.O. was a victim in Philly too right? I bet that you must love Ocho Stinko too?

  20. while I don’t know if Mort is a liar or not, I do know that ESPN has a roster full of ‘experts’ who are nothing more than hacks with an axe to grind (Pasquerelli, Mort, Clayton, Sal Pal, Mike Fish, Chris Carter, Tom Jackson, etc…)
    And Florio, you are part of the media establishment, even if you work out of backwoods West Virginia. Keep sniffing around the jocks at Bristol, I’m sure you’ll eventually be the 56th person on NFL Live someday

  21. Wow Florio, kinda surprised you are defending Mortenson. Especially after the way you go after Len PastaBelly.
    Sorry, Mortenson lost credibility with me years ago, just another shill for whomever gives him the most information (see Tom Donahoe).
    All in all, ESPN is a shell of it’s former self. Maybe they need to go “Back, back, back” and regain some of the credibility they used to have.
    BTW, I’m all for Davis and his rant. History has shown that he is a shrewd businessman, and the future will show that Kiffin is all Davis said he is.

  22. @JSpicoli – How could you possibly call yourself a Raiders fan AND defend Al Davis? Jesus Christ, if the Patriots had fired Belichick after as many games as Kiffen as coached, their records WOULD BE IDENTICAL. You need more than 20 f’n games to get a team together. I’m not a hater. I actually feel bad for your organization. I think most of the people commenting here can agree with that. Al Davis needs to go before that organization will ever be good again. Under Lane, that team actually started to look good. And sure, maybe they would’ve lost every game this season, but fire him AFTER that season if thats what you are really going to do. Because regardless of whoever the coach is now, the season is dead. Without Lane, you’re on the clock for next years draft already…

  23. al got up and spewed steamers at everyone he was mad at.
    yup old al is as clean as the driven snow. he makes all the decisions, then other people get to take the fall.
    it isnt hate to say that the raiders’ dysfunctionality stems from the top.

  24. Well there’s reporters, lawyers and liars, and damned if I can tell the difference between ’em.

  25. Al Davis is clearly a mean old man and he may be somewhat out of touch with the current NFL, but he’s lucid and I admire the way that old fart flips the finger at everybody. You may not like his way, but it’s his way or the highway just like it’s always been, baby. Go on witcher bad self Al, just as long as you possibly can.

  26. Al Davis needs a muzzle…he is suffering from alzheimers and besides he a friggin douche bag who is singlehandedly destroying his own team.

  27. I think he meant John Tomase, not Mort. Hey, he’s 79 and allowed to have a senior moment or two.
    What I am really wondering is when Coors Light will start running commercials with bites from this conference spliced in.

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