Since the passing of Al Davis in 2011, his son Mark Clark Davis has been the principle owner of the Oakland Raiders. Mark Davis gained possession of the team during their, at the time, eight season streak of being.500 or worse (the streak would continue for five more years).
Mark Davis came into ownership during the 2011 season and, despite the motivation of dedicating the remainder of the season to Al Davis, the Raiders fell one game short of making the playoffs.
While missing the playoffs one time may not detrimental to all teams, but it crushed the Raiders and the team would not come anywhere close to the playoffs for the next five years.
During the darker years of Davis’ career, fans scrutinized Mark as if the team was elite during the years prior. Mark endured criticism because the team was struggling, despite stating multiple times that he was more inclined to handle the team’s business decisions, which clearly did not positively motivate the fanbase.
As a teenager at the time, this news did not please me. However, looking back, most of what I heard was from Raiders fans. Instead of unbiased sources, people with axes to grind. As a result, I understand to feel the discontent.
Nowadays, things feel different. It remains possible to revert back to one’s old ways during a particularly outstanding stretch of games. Moreover, a positive change in mindset and team morale may have been a long time coming. Yet, the team really came together and decided to make the effort to continue pushing on. During the play that would end Carr’s season, Davis seemed more concerned about Carr’s wellbeing than his profits.
Many believe that true colors reveal themselves in times of adversity. Additionally, during that adversity was the first time change was visually noticeable in Davis.
Davis has also done participated in more “under the Raidar” events that did not seem monetarily driven. In 2014, Davis spoke out against domestic violence and helped spearhead the movement to suspend the player being investigated. In 2015, Davis backed his statements up by openly announcing the team did not have interest in signing Greg Hardy.
In addition, Davis has changed his stance on National Anthem protests. Davis initially requested that his players stand during the anthem. However, while other team owners cracked down on players doing anything but standing, Davis felt different
“(whatever the players do), do it with class. Do it with pride. Not only do we have to tell people there is something wrong, we have to come up with answers. That’s the challenge that’s in front of us as Americans and as human beings.” Davis said this while fans of other teams were discarding their season tickets due to anthem protests.
Mark Davis changed himself as well as the Oakland Raiders. I normally dislike change, but I am incredibly excited to witness the good changes yet to come.