Last Monday, four Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers directly contributed to the murder of George Floyd for the world to see. Multiple members of the Las Vegas Raiders have spoken out on the heinous act. Though some have spoken out, there are individuals amongst Raider Nation that do not echo their sentiments.
In recent times, tension has mounted across the United States of America. The Raiders late owner, Al Davis, would be ashamed of the disapproval and silence amongst some in regards to the Floyd incident. His legacy of boisterous change and swaggering brilliance should never be forgotten.
Last Monday’s murder of a handcuffed African American man in Minneapolis was the tipping point for humanity to actively acknowledge that change must occur in America, now. The majority of protests have been peaceful such as the one below.
Protesters outside Colorado’s Capitol lay face down with their hands behind their backs chanting “I can’t breathe” for 9 minutes @COTimesRecorder
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) June 1, 2020
Others have been violent. Law enforcement and protesters have clashed with both acting as antagonists in a variety of situations.
CHAOS: Police officers dragged through the street in Chicago
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 30, 2020
Regardless of peaceful or violent protests, the world collectively mourns the senseless loss of another African American at the hands of law enforcement in supposedly the greatest country on Earth. Members of the Raiders have not hesitated to show their support for change. Even new players, such as Damon Arnette and Lynn Bowden Jr., have not flinched to let their voice be heard.
People think this shit a joke. But cry when people tired of being peaceful. MLK was all peace,gunned down for what he believed in. There’s been great progress, but what does that all mean if we still being killed off? We just wanna live with out all the bullshit man.Stand up✊🏻✊🏿
— Damon Arnette (@damon_arnette) June 1, 2020
I can’t breathe…
— Lynn Bowden Jr (@LynnBowden_1) May 27, 2020
Second year players Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs are also tired of seeing situations like George Floyd’s.
— MaddMaxx (@CrosbyMaxx) May 31, 2020
Tired of this bs cuhh
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) May 29, 2020
Even six year veteran Derek Carr offered a statement on last Monday’s tragedy.
Most importantly, the son of the legendary Al Davis shared a message that would make his father proud.
Times like these are a reminder that the Silver and Black were the original trailblazers in the fight for equality in professional football when it was unprecedented to do so.
Al Davis Led the Way for Diversity in Professional Football
Al Davis, was a pioneer for equality in a time where most professional football organizations were unwilling to do so.
In 1979, Davis hired Tom Flores as the Oakland Raiders head coach. Flores was the second Latino head coach ever to be hired in professional football. Moreover, he was the first minority head coach to ever win a Super Bowl in 1983.
10 years later, Davis hired Silver and Black legend Art Shell as the Los Angeles Raiders head coach.
Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images
Shell was the first African American head coach in the modern era in the NFL. The Rooney Rule wasn’t in place in 1989, Davis hired Shell on the basis of the following statement below.
“You understand the Raider way. You’re a leader. You’re smart. You work hard. Everyone respects you, so you’re the perfect choice.” ~Al Davis
His words were the essence of equality without one word about Shell’s creed, gender, race, or skin color. The former co-owner was brief, effective and to the point without seeking praise for the revolutionary hiring.
Last but not least, Davis hired Amy Trask, who started as an intern in 1983 and worked her way to becoming the first woman CEO in the NFL in 1997.
Photo by Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports
Davis paved the way for the future of minorities and women not just in the Raider organization but the entire NFL. His actions and voice never let down those that were clearly not viewed as equals in that time period. Flores, Shell, and Trask, received an opportunity based strictly on their qualifications and no other existential variables. Prejudice or racism was not in Davis’ blood. He would never stand for anyone within the Raider fanbase or organization that harbored either of those feelings today.
Prejudice Has No Place in the World, Let Alone Raider Nation
The world is at a crossroads right now. What occurred last Monday is the culmination of neglecting accountability and rampant ignorance within certain sectors of the law enforcement community. It is appalling that, more often than not, the African American man is subject to effects of adverse police action more so than other groups of people.
When Colin Kaepernick kneeled peacefully, much of the world verbally crucified him and overlooked his message. His belief was that change needs to happen within the justice system before the world responds in a matter that is non peaceful. Today, we are now witnessing what he foresaw then. The phrase attached to his campaign “Black Lives Matter” is not one that states that other races do not matter. It is a statement that was created to raise awareness and the daily struggles of those specifically within the African American community.
Raider Nation must never forget the legacy of Al Davis and what he achieved in a time where equality was non existent. A man that stood for what was right, regardless of outside perceptions, would hope that members of the organization would hope for equality and solidarity, today.
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