Oakland Raiders Mark Davis Tee Martin Comment Sounds Racist After NFL Rooney Rule Issue
Mark Davis needs to issue an appology to USC Offensive Coordinator Tee Martin if the Sports Illustrated report of what he said about the coach of the man who could be the first player picked in the 2018 NFL Draft are true. In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s MMQB’s S.L. Price, Davis is quoted as saying “To spend $20 million, and on top of that hire Tee Martin? No. What I would’ve done is probably brought in a president – somebody with X’s and O’s ability – to work with Jack, and I would’ve gotten some more competent coordinators,” is reponse to the question if he would have retained Jack Del Rio as Raiders Head Coach if Gruden wasn’t available.
Think about that. USC Quarterback Sam Darnold is that player said by some to be the best signal caller coming into the 2018 NFL Draft – Tee Marin coached him. Tee Martin was also the designated Rooney Rule interview selected by the Raiders during their search for a head coach. Even though Martin certainly knew that the Raiders Davis wanted Jon Gruden, he flew up to Oakland for the meeting anyway.
For anyone who knows offensive football, what Tee Martin does in the use of line spacing in the running game is something to study. Maybe Mark Davis didn’t get that memo? I have to say that what Davis said sounds racist. In other words, Davis might as well have blurted out “look, we just talked to Tee Martin because the NFL says we have to talk to a black guy before we get the white guy we want – Gruden. But hire Martin? Are you kidding me?” Wow.
Davis’ comment about Martin is sad because he’s the same person who asked me to develop a new stadium plan for the Oakland Raiders. My long-time-friend Michael Silver, now of the NFL Network, was there to see it. To make a long story short, I developed a detailed financial plan for a combination stadium – hotel resort facility, then cold-called Piper Jaffrey Investment Banker’s Managing Director Diane Paauwe, who in turn assembled a deal team to look at my spreadsheet and plan. They said it would work and wanted to move forward to talk with either the Raiders or the City of Oakland, or both.
I called the Raiders and sent emails reporting the good news, and got no call back. And while there was an active Exclusive Negotiating Agreement at the time with another potential stadium developer, those talks were going nowhere. Moreover, the ENA did not expressly block the Raiders from listening to an idea as opposed to actually doing another deal with a new developer. The Raiders could have called Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and asked her to end the ENA so they could freely move freely in another direction. Then followed up with me and Piper Jaffrey – especially considering what Davis asked me to do that started all of this!
Instead what I got was nothing except a constant impression that Davis is afraid to talk with me about anything, face to face. Fortunately that’s not true for a number of other people on his staff, who shall remain nameless. But I could not help but wonder if Davis had some issue with me simply as a black man who is intelligent. I would constantly dismiss that idea, but after the Tee Martin comment, I am forced to think about that all over again.
It reminds me of what Bell Hooks wrote in “We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity”: “Well-educated black men have learned to act as if they know nothing in a world where a smart black man risks punishment.” And that’s because some consider us dangerous. Solving a stadum finacing problem, or coaching an NFL football team should not be considered undesirable for someone black to be able to do, male or female. I keep remembering that Davis asked me, to come up with a plan but maybe, in retrospect, he meant it as a joke, thinking I couldn’t do anything.