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Al Davis had a very animated and unusual press conference today. (link)
During the press conference Davis outlined his reasons for firing Lane Kiffin. Since Kiffin was fired for "cause" or breach of his contract, it seemed Davis was especially careful with his answers. It had the feel of a deposition. It struck me as odd how he used a projector to show the following letter to the assembled press:
September 12, 2008
By Hand Delivery and Federal Express
Over the past months, you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical of, and designed to embarrass and discredit this organization, its players and its coaches. I left you alone during training camp in hopes that you would cease your immature and destructive campaign.
However, you continue to make public statements that are critical of the organization, its players as a whole as well as individual players. Such statements constitute conduct detrimental to the Raiders and I will no longer stand silently by while you continue to heart this organization.
Further, you contract is quite clear that you work “subject to the direction and supervision of the General Partner’’ and that the General Partner has the “exclusive right to do all things, which in its sole discretion are necessary to maintain and improve the Club, the football organization and their activities.’’
I realized when I hired you that you were young and inexperienced and that there would be a learning process for you. Your mistakes on player personnel and coaches were overlooked based on our patience with you. But I never dreamt that you would be so untruthful in statements to the press as well as on so many other issues. Your actions are those of a coach looking to make excuses for not winning, rather than a coach focused on winning.
For example, with the exception of Gibril Wilson, you were involved in recruiting all free agents and determining salaries for them and you were explicit in your desire to sign Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall amongst others. All were a must to sign in your eyes, Hall in particular, because he played for Greg Knapp in Atlanta and Knapp gave him high grades. Do not run from that now.
I do realize that you did not want to draft JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field, that is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team!
In regards to your recent fabrications about the defense, during the final cuts you made every cut on offense and every cut on defense except for Wakefield on defense and Wand on offense. Further more, during the game Monday night Rob played your Cover 2 defense and we got killed on an approximately 50-yard touchdown pass and approximately 70-yard gain that led to a field goal.
You meet every week with the defensive coaches to go over both the past game and to get a general feel for what will happen during the week in practice. You have the ability and authority to provide your input during those meetings and the preparation for the game plan. I do not have weekly meetings with Rob _ you do.
During the week no one has ever told you what to do on either offense or defense. In addition, no one has ever told you during a game what to do on either offense or defense and you call every play on offense. During a game if you want to blitz more, all you have to do is let Rob know what blitz you want and he will do it.
Although you continue to use the media to express your dissatisfaction with others, no one has publicly pointed out to you that in 4 preseason games and one regular season game played this year, your offense has scored one first half touchdown. That put tremendous pressure on the defense.
I know that you wanted to bring your father in to run the defense and that Monte told me he wanted to come here even though he is under contract to Tampa. However, I did not want to tamper with another team. In any event that was over seven months ago. Do not also run from the defense and your responsibilities.
This letter constitutes notice that if you further violate any term of your contract, in any manner whatsoever, you will be terminated for cause. I trust that this will not occur.
A.D. Football, Inc.
By: (Al Davis signature)
At the conclusion of Davis' press conference, he introduced the new Head Coach, Tom Cable. Go to Jerry McDonald's blog (link) to get some good insight on the press conference.
My initial view on the PC is that we only have 1 side of the story ... Al's view. This side portrays Kiffin as a weasel. Unfortunately, Kiffin has cancelled his PC for tomorrow at the advise of his attorney. Whether we ever truly get the other side to the story or not at this point is irrelevant. The other side I'm quite certain would portray Kiffin as a martyr. For a more captivating post on Weasel vs. Martyr go to Raider Take's blog. (link)
It was interesting to hear Cable speak. He is very direct, forceful, and sincere. His comments about Kiffin were telling in that he "loved and respected Lane who worked his tail off".
After sifting through some of the videos and initial reports (ie JMac), it seems like a classic case of a "personality conflict" between Davis and Kiffin where both were too stubborn for their own good and both equally at fault.
In hindsight, when things started to go sour back in January, you would have only hoped that both Davis and Kiffin put aside their differences, got on the same page, and made a concerted effort to mend any broken fences.