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Al Davis - Lord Of The Rings

Famous Sports StarsFootballAl Davis Biography - Growing Up, Davis And The Afl, The Black And Silver, The Glory Years, Chronology

Lord of the Rings

For an owner, Davis has always been strangely considerate of labor. He flew former Raiders to Super Bowl games, back when the team was in them, and continues to fly former players to home games throughout the season. Whenever a Raider is inducted into the Hall of Fame—there have been six, and they have all asked for Davis to present them—he arranges for former teammates to be on hand. One former Raider, long since traded away, got into trouble with drugs, and Davis secretly financed his rehabilitation. And, said [Gene] Upshaw, "If a player passes away, like Dan Birdwell did in 1978, he flies us all in for the funeral…."

[He] defers as much acclaim as possible to the players. He rarely goes to awards banquets for fear of denying the players their proper due. The gesture occasionally backfires. He got some heat in 1983 when he stiffed the Los Angeles Press Club; friends say he was just being careful not to steal attention away from the team.

When Upshaw and Davis visited Irwindale, Calif., to see one of several proposed sites for a new Raider stadium, Upshaw asked if it would be named Al Davis Stadium. Davis was surprised at the suggestion. "Not in a million years," he said, adding that the hall of fame he intends to build with the stadium will be devoted entirely to players.

Source: Richard Hoffer, Sports Illustrated, December 11, 1989, p. 104.

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