Gilbert firing suggests McKenzie’s power is limited


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.

64 responses to “Gilbert firing suggests McKenzie’s power is limited

  1. Hey not sure if this is breaking news but I guess a lot of media people like Zak Gilbert, how will the NFL continue without him ….

  2. Like father, like son. Meddling is apparently a genetic trait in the Davis family. This is good news for all the other AFC West teams.

  3. I have no dog in the fight, but this is a troubling sign for Raiders fans. A shame things look to be headed back in the wrong direction. The more things change…….The more they stay the same. Firing someone for an article wrote by a pundit? I’ve never heard anything like that before in my life. Who knew bloggers had so much power.

  4. What’s the story here? Owner has ultimate power. Owner doesn’t like what P.R. guy is doing. Fired! End of story.

  5. Mark Davis really does, in some manner, seem like Tommy Boy “Dohhh, I was just checkin’ the speck lines on the girder belts, doh, I’m re*&%^ed..”

    Even pictures of him in his white tie and suit shows a guy with a pumpkin-pie quasi-bowl haircut that appears to have been combed by the underside of his hand right after the shower.


  6. just when you thought reggie was getting the raiders going in the right direction. i guess the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree, right jr??? sorry raider fans it doesn’t look like things are going to change for the better after all. this is totally an al davis type move.

  7. On one hand I feel bad for Gilbert, he didn’t deserve to get fired. On the other, I must laugh as the idiot meddling of a Davis continues to haunt the Raiders. The whole idea behind hiring McKenzie was to let football people come in and run things the right way, but it seems like business as usual for the Raiders. What a joke! I hope Gilbert gets a good job somewhere else where sanity prevails.

  8. I see the toadies are still a little sensitive that their “fellow professional” got the axe.

    Maybe you can all meet Silver and Hue Jackson at the spa for a glass of Chardonnay and a pedicure. I’m sure an afternoon of girl talk will make the cramps go away.

    In other words, get over yourselves. Nobody cares about a media hack that gets canned.

  9. Or… He could have been fired for reasons other than what the media is speculating. I’m not saying that’s not the reason, but it’s possible he wasn’t living up to expectations in other areas.

    As a Colorado State alumni and season ticket holder, I dealt with Zak a few times during his years in Ft. Collins. I was quite honestly surprised he landed the Raider gig until I found out about his ties to Reggie in Green Bay.

    Whether the firing was justified or not, the only reason the media is so tweaked about it, is because they fear they’ll lose some of the access created by Zak. This makes their jobs more difficult. I understand their frustration but it’s time to move on.

  10. Mike & All, I reiterate that the first two pages of the article about the Raiders recent history in SI, from my viewpoint, was damning. Besides the $1M slip-up there was the unavailable direct deposit for coaches checks and non existent draft board. All inside information that put a very ugly light on the last years of Al Davis’ tenure. Information that didn’t come out during Al’s time. You all may think it was fair and balanced but the way I see it it reflected on Mark and he took his frustrations out on the PR Director.

  11. Overhead projectors, mindless firings. The Davis blood still rules the roost in Oakland. Good news for the rest of the AFCW.

  12. And then it occurred to me
    My boy was just like me

    And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
    Little boy blue and the man in the moon

  13. I feel bad for McKenzie and for my Raiders. Mark Davis has a complete lack of emotional impulse control. Most psychiatrists will say that this is a symptom of mental illness.

  14. Mike to this day still has no idea why Zack was canned. But I do. Of course it has nothing to do with that article written by Trotter. Trotter is a nobody but a media freeloader that isn’t paid attention to, not even in San Diego.

  15. 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.


    Wow…obviously, unless he was also a coach or had the authority to control personnel and staffing.

    The firing of PR director Zak Gilbert was not due to or connected to the earthquake in Japan.

  16. While there is a lot of conjecture as to what really happened here, I’m starting to think there’s a reason dad treated Mark like a douche-bag. I also think there is a lot that Mark does not know he doesn’t know.

  17. The Sports Illustrated article was absolutely terrible and an embarrassment to sports journalism. It was an all out attack on Big Al with a bunch of baseless rants.

    Especially the one where he said Al was in the way of Mike Lombardi saying that he blocked some of his hires. He had to block some his hires. lombardi didnt know what he was doing..I’m glad Al Davis did block some of Lombardi’s hires especially the Bobby Petrino hire.

    The drafts from 2007 on have been good. Except for when Tom Cable had input.

    The Raiders have lost since 2003 simply because The head coaches Al originally wanted were talked out of the Job like Sean Payton thus we had to hire desperate coaches like Norv Turner. None of that stuff Trotter talks about.When he identified Hue Jackson he brought him on as a OC first(with more power than the HC) so he couldn’t be talked out of the HC job when it would be eventually offered.

    Raider Nation embraces the past tradition.. We don’t want to see it desecrated. All that article did was trash Mr Davis and praise McKenzie and the “New Silver & Black”.

    The old silver & black didnt hire defensive minded head coaches… The new silver & black did with terrible results.

    The Old silver & black said Gregg knapp can’t coach and the ZBS and west coast offense was a poor fit for this personnel. The New Silver & black disagreed and re-hired Knapp and his system failed miserably.

    Sports illustrated article was terrible. The PR guy was probably fired because Trotter had to get his information from somewhere. He had to be echoing some Raider insider’s sentiments.

  18. Why does the GM even hire a PR guy anyway? It’s not one of Reggie’s “football” (i.e. scout) guys.

    Reggie is in no danger… Mark Davis is on record that he’ll get the entire 5 years on his contract as he should. The team is moving in the right direction.

  19. Everyone in the media is lamenting his firing because he gave them such great access to the team.

    Maybe the Raiders front office looked around the league and noticed that alot of the really successful franchises don’t allowed the press unrestricted access at all times and figured maybe they would be better off with a PR director with that philosophy.

    Just sayin.

  20. So what? The head guy in ANY organization has the right and in some cases the duty to be the ultimate decider on personnel issues. It doesn’t matter whether you like Mark Davis or his father-he is the head guy and history will decide how is ultimately rated.

  21. “Still, Gilbert was hired not by Davis but by G.M. Reggie McKenzie, who supposedly has been given the keys to the car.”

    And the owner of that “car” is Mark Davis. He has final say. End of story.

  22. The irony is that the article was very positive towards how the Raiders are operating now. But, you can’t praise the current course without giving examples of how bad things were before. The only two options from that article were going to be: 1. Things are looking up, or 2. Things are just as messed up as before.

    And the oddest part of the whole story wasn’t so much the guy being fired, but that he was first banned from the office and forced to work from home for several weeks. Why not fire him immediately if it was that big a deal? Or why wouldn’t several weeks have given Davis some time to get some perspective?

  23. Let’s see if I understand this. The PR guy gets fired in June and for whatever reason the season is lost and it’s not even training camp yet? In addition, now Reggie’s job is in jeopardy as well and his authority has been usurped? Have I got this right?

    So in other words, The Raiders should just forfeit the season at this point because the PR guy which only the media really knows was the linchpin of the organization.

    Maybe I just don’t get it but the man crush you media hacks have on this guy is beyond any reason for me. Common sense says that if he had nothing to do with the article then he was canned for something you know nothing about and we know nothing about, plain and simple.

    To cast such a wide net over a PR Director is maybe beyond my level of comprehension. I’ve been following the NFL since the 60’s and have never heard of someone in the PR department getting this kind of attention. Guess I just didn’t get the memo on the importance of the department and it’s pivotal role to the success of every NFL franchise.

  24. Wow, look at all these people who work in Alameda and have intimate knowledge of both this PR individual’s work performance and Mark Davis’ motives!!

    …OR, perhaps there’s more at play here than any of us are privey to.

    Is it possible this firing was the result of a MULTITUDE of things and not just one article? After watching dead weight collect paychecks and not produce for many many years, I respect Mark and Reggie for doing what needs to be done to change the team’s image and move this team forward.

    My opinion here extends to Mrs. Trask, as well. Not that she or this PR rep are bad people, but perhaps they just weren’t what the organization needs to move out of the 1970s in professional football, and gain some respect in the league.

  25. I don’t know why some random PR guy Zak Gilbert is getting so much attention.
    A perfect example of “Making a mountain out of a mole hill”
    He’s not an owner, GM, Coach, Player, Ex Player, ETC.
    He will have no effect on wins or losses. And does anybody really have knowledge that R.M didn’t give his blessing on letting this monkey go?
    Hell, Michael Huff and Mike Mitchell didn’t get this much press when they were let go. And they were starters.

  26. The firing of the PR guru? I have no problem with that. I’m sure all you media types do though, since you no longer have your “team source”. I mean, most of the information in the SI article was known, except that one small piece about the agent getting over on Al Davis for $1,000,000.00. I don’t know of any owner/GM wanting that type of information getting out. Thanks Gilbert. Also, the news of how badly the Raiders wanted Kaepernick but couldn’t pull off a trade with the trade-happy Patriots, C’mon man, Gilbert allowed too much information out of Alameda.
    Also, what is McKenzie hiring front office personnel for? I thought the arrangement was Mark Davis runs the front and McKenzie runs player personnel.

  27. The Raiders do not need any PR.
    The NATION do not care what anybody else thinks.
    If we did, we would be SF fans.

  28. Raiders fans are too emotional to get the point. No organization (except the Raiders obviously) would fire the pr guy for an article Florio wrote…. Think about it. There would be no pr guys if they were responsible for anything and everything bloggers/fans/pundits wrote about the team.

    Luckily Organizations are a little more stable, so people like Florio/Peter King or whoever else can write articles about the organization without a random person taking the fall for it. Pundits shouldn’t have that kind of power.

    They only do if the Owner (Davis Jr.) lacks confidence or experience. More people have read the article now than before. Gread job Jr. With all the people who have worked for Oakland the last 10 years, that inside info could have come from anyone.

    And they say the trade for Carson was Hue’s decision….

  29. Florio ‘ Trotter and Silver consider the Raiders to be a dysfuntional franchise with ugly image ( as silver wrote this morning !!!! ) but they can’t stop talking about the raiders for some reason !!!!
    Thr Browns fired their P.R guy has anyone heard anything about that ? eeeeh that what thought .

  30. As of June 2013

    Raider Nation PR contact:

    Dept. Black Hole
    Oakland Coliseum
    Sections 104, 105, 106, and 107

  31. I have never seen so many comments from Raider Nation finally get posted, normally we’re blocked!. Normally 80 percent get kicked out.
    Heard Reggie actually approved of the firing by Mark.

  32. This is what is wrong with the media today … they can write anything they want … positive or negative … just don’t screw them over.

    Seriously since when does a no name PR getting fired grab more attention than RG3.

    Now you can delete this comment in 3 … 2 … 1

  33. I didn’t know who he was until he was canned ,
    I wish the media wrote good things about him when he was hired I would’ve been a happy raider fan then .

    Go Raiders

  34. ok everybody name the 32 PR directors for each team in the nfl!

    Exactly…… point….zzzz,zzzzz,zzzzz,zzzzzz

  35. In other Raiders news, Terrelle Pryor signed a 13 year contract, $260 MM extension with $130 MM in guaranteed money. Rumor has it that Pryor commented that he wanted to “come in and compete” and eventually “retire a Raider” just like JaMarcus. The Associated Press tried to reach someone in the Raiders organization for confirmation. A man seen exiting Raiders world headquarters late in the evening, carrying a mop and a bucket, declined to be interviewed on the record about the transaction, shaking his head, saying only, “No comment”.

  36. If M.Davis fires a coach, that’s news! This is simply corporate business. A PR person must show the org. in the best possible light regardless…he didn’t.

  37. Sports reporters are used to discussing the smallest details of the personal & professional lives of athletes. Gilbert worked with athletes but he’s not one himself. The rules that apply to him are the same as the ones to ordinary people. A former employer discloses the reason for a termination at the risk of a lawsuit. That goes for a confidential conversation, let alone for announcing it to the whole world. All the silence from the Raiders about Gilbert means is that Mark Davis is getting sound legal advice. Florio is a lawyer by training & should know better.

  38. The media is not reporting this but Mark Davis hired a guy who used to write about The Raiders, I guess he is a NFL scout who scouts NFL free agents. Most people knew him from Raider News Flash on twitter or his mailing list. I have heard this guy maybe the new GM for the Raiders in the next couple of years. AP wrote about it in a short write up but made no mention he used to be a guy who used to break news on twitter.. They just said he “blogged” about the Raiders.
    Mark Davis loves this guy so watch out you will be hearing this guys name soon. His name is Steve Lapa

  39. what I found interesting about the hire of the @RaiderNewsFlash guy is he used to write a lot about McKenzie not doing a good job. The guy used to trash McKenzie and now he works for The Raiders? So Mark Davis must believe the same thing . If Raiders don’t make playoffs this year McKenzie will be fired. I would bet anything on it

  40. Who cares about the Raiders and their front office.

    But I took two things away from this article:

    1) That McKenzie character is absolutely ENORMOUS.

    2) Davis wears triple-white clothes from the ’80s.

    I wonder if he has a matching all white VW Cabrio?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!