A New Frame of Mind
"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Sir Winston Churchill
My mood over the weekend was one of outrage and despair. I wish I was the type of guy who could put my head in the sand and avoid reading the countless articles that poked fun (and a stick in the eye) at the Raiders.
I also wish I wasn't so quick to make assumptions or assign blame for the mess we are in. For that I apologize and attempt to clear my head.
Instead of picking and choosing the bits and pieces of articles that I believe and analyzing different "what if" scenarios, I'm going to shift gears and wait for the dust to settle over the next few weeks.
My sincere hope is that I'm wrong about my assumptions AND the Kiffin/Davis relationship isn't at the point of no return.
After reading a dozen articles from yesterday and today, my instinct tells me that there were mistakes made by both Kiffin & Davis through their words and actions. Both are tenacious,driven, singularly focused stubborn men who have a difficult time backing down.
There were probably a few times were Davis felt Kiffin overstepped his bounds. There were also more than likely a few incidents where Kiffin felt Davis wasn't properly supporting him.
The most disappointing aspect to this entire mess is that it seem to me that it never had to get to the point where ultimatums were thrown and the dirty laundry aired in public. The way the "problems" were resolved lacked a sense of professionalism and confidentiality that would have resolved the differences amicably.
Another extremely disappointing aspect to the way the Raiders have conducted their business is that, IMO, there is a lack of focus on keeping their eye on the ball ... namely winning and doing things in the best interest of the team, fans, and organization. All of this negative press and bad marketing is detrimental and unnecessary.
It will be interesting to witness how all of the controversy over the past few weeks plays out.
Will it be a case where Kiffin & Davis form a stronger bond and become joined at the hip to prove the football media wrong?
Will it be a situation where the waters are so polluted that the relationship has suffered irrevocable harm?
Will it be a relationship that will be truly "make or break" based on the won/loss record of 2008?
I'm guessing it is the latter. I don't have any problem with this scenario. As long as we return to the business at hand (coaching staff additions, free agency acquisitions, draft selections, training camp, etc.) then all of us will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Nothing would please me more than to concentrate on the one thing we universally relish ... Raider Football!
My greatest hope and sense of solace comes from a quote that Lane Kiffin had posted in each players' locker in the latter stages of the 2007 season:
"A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as excuses to give up. It’s all a matter of pride." - Winston Churchill
If Kiffin was sincere in his admiration of this Churchill quote, 2008 still has a chance to be another peg up on the competitive ladder.