As a result of some unwanted attention in an April Sports Illustrated
article, the Oakland Raiders fired PR Director Zak Gilbert over the weekend. Now the team’s leadership is getting considerably more unwanted attention.
The firing was “seemingly for no other than reason than your typical rampant paranoia and unreasonable deflection within the Raiders organization,” wrote blogger Tim Ryan at Big Lead Sports
Reportedly the team’s principal owner, Mark Davis, was not pleased with the SI
article’s portrayal of his father, former team owner Al Davis. In the article
, writer Jim Trotter lists a few of the elder Davis’ rash decisions in his final years in charge of the team.
According to Richard Dukas, president and CEO of Dukas Public Relations
, the Raiders’ firing of Gilbert shows a fundamental misunderstanding of PR.
“They cannot blame their internal PR director, Zak Gilbert, for the conclusions the reporter came to,” he says. “Causing an off-season drama will only bring unwanted attention to the team and the SI article itself. It puts the spotlight on the organization's desire to sweep elements of its unsavory past under the rug.”
Dukas suggests Mark Davis should issue a statement detailing how he and the team have moved beyond past mistakes toward more practical, long-term goals. If there were other reasons for firing Gilbert, the team should say so, he says.
Perhaps the latter is already happening. In a Monday post, the blog Golden Gate Sports
maintained that the reasons for firing Gilbert were “ridiculous,” but at least it offered a different one. Apparently, sources told the San Francisco Chronicle
that Gilbert didn’t adequately shield head coach Dennis Allen from the media.