Up to now, I was really getting tired of the Oakland Raiders soap opera but today, I was really amused.
John Herrera, Raiders Senior Executive, almost flew off the handle in a Raiders HQ media room with several key Bay Area sports reporters in attendance. In the following video I can see Nancy Gay from the Mercury News and Ray Ratto (hoo boy) from the San Francisco Chronicle looking on with interest.
The following video pretty much shows that John Herrera takes his role as protecting the world of Al Davis very seriously.
Bottom line here is Raiders HQ seems to have no problem burying themselves in their own dirty laundry. They spend all this energy defending themselves with the press and in the end, they put the spotlight on themselves as they throw a little boy tantrum.
To see the video, try this link.
Regarding what is being said, the audio on the clip is not the best. They are arguing about an article that was allegedly circulated by a "Raiders staff member" to the media people in attendance. Mr. Herrera is insisting no one on the Raiders staff distributed it. The media, specifically Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News is making light of it in fact. John Herrera reacts strongly, "Get your hands off me!"
Who is this guy kidding? Tim Kawakami was not starting any trouble and kudos to him for not even flinching, behaving professionally throughout, realizing the episode was being taped.
So it occurred to me, John Herrera is in the same situation as everyone else, waiting for the axe to fall on Kiffin. I think John Herrera is really chomping at the bit to get rid of Kiff and he's a bit on edge.
As key Raiders spokesperson, John Herrera is usually at the forefront of information released from Raiders HQ to the public domain. He is passionate in his protecting the integrity of what is said in the media about the Raiders.
Someone inside Raider HQ is feeding information to big name media peeps. Namely, Jay Glazer with Fox Sports and Chris Mortensen with ESPN, who always seems to be the first to know when Al sneezes.
It make senses John Herrera would be the leak. Who else but a PR guy would have Jay Glazer and Chris Mortensen's cell numbers? Another name being floated around the blogosphere as the potential source is lower ranking Raiders Public Relations man Mike Taylor. Interestingly, Mr. Taylor is also mentioned in the same breath as being in the suffocatingly tight Al inner circle.
Who knows, perhaps the undermining source within Raiders HQ is a lesser known employee who skulks in shadows, maybe he has Al's walker bugged.
Or... perhaps this leak is more sophisticated. Could it be Raiders CEO Amy Trask? She is well informed at a field level more so than one might think. But, I don't see how she would intentionally speak off record to big name sports media. It's not her role. She is too lawyerly and loyal.
Al's son, the 40 something Mark Davis? Still very much a mystery to most...for now. What we do know of Mark is he is actually a nice guy who likes to play golf and probably enjoys a financially carefree lifestyle. He has not shown any football insight publicly. His role with the organization appears to be more on the business development side.
My personal take on Mark is he does not carry a chip off the old Al block type of swagger. I think he would be uninterested in being a back channel source of info for the media.
A conspiracy theory is the leak is one of Al's varied bodyguard/medical staff. Some of those dudes might be the fly on the wall. Hey you never know.
Nah, the leak is the reckless John Herrera who managed to show less media savvy than Lane Kiffin, the very man he wants vilified for the same offense.