In announcing Mark Davis’s decision to withdraw from the Oakland Raiders’ ownership of the National Football League, the owner said he didn’t want to assume control of a team he said was under investigation by the league.
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“There is a massive question mark regarding the NFL’s true intentions for the Raiders. How many clubs do you know that the NFL is investigating?” Davis said in a statement released by the team. “I was instructed last year not to make the NFL’s true intentions known, but with questions still lingering, I have no choice. This is the truth, folks.”
He further disputed the NFL’s assertion that there would be no misconduct surrounding the sale of the Raiders to an investment group led by Davis’s son, E.J., and Darren Davis, CEO of the Raiders’ stadium operator, Mid-America Sportservice. “I have been privy to the NFL’s truth for over two years now, and to date, the NFL still refuses to reveal it,” he said.
Following a meeting with team officials, the NFL last week notified the Raiders that investigators would be “conducting a comprehensive review of the Raider Sports and Entertainment (RSE) businesses”. The NFL’s statement did not specify whether there would be “compromise agreements” involved or an admission of wrongdoing or corruption. The league did not immediately return messages for comment.
But it did spell out, as it was, why Davis’s ownership of the team had expired: “The relationship between Ira Howard, Mark Davis, Malcolm Glazer and the NFL has been demonstrably unfair and deleterious to the team and its stakeholders. There is a clear and present threat of litigation that will probably result in litigation and financial disaster to the franchise.”
Steve Glazer, the son of the late Malcolm Glazer who owns the other half of the team, confirmed the investigation last week, saying it had originated “long before E.J. Davis’s involvement”. He was further quoted in the San Jose Mercury News as saying that he “feared the NFL for some time. … They always had plans to take it away from me”.
With the Raiders entering the start of training camp, E.J. Davis has been given authority to approve NFL decisions on the team’s potential ownership.
The current owner’s son then spoke of his father’s revelations last week. “The timing was good because I think it’s appropriate,” he said. “I’m not mad at the league. I’m mad at the reporting process that led to us becoming aware of it.”
Neither Malcolm Glazer nor anyone else associated with the deal with the Davis’s group has commented on the league’s investigation.
Davis then went on to reference last season’s controversy involving his former coach, Jon Gruden, whose consulting and consulting gig for the Raiders now constitutes his sole income. “It is a major issue in my mind, and I think it has a severe impact on the Raiders,” he said. “As a result, I am willing to forego all benefits and profits of any and all future contracts with the Raiders in order to ensure my step-daughter’s right to have authority over the team’s football operations. I have secured my steps-daughter as sole owner of the club, an authority shared by only a few in the history of this team.”