Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders, and Equal Opportunity

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One of the things that made the AFL so great (and competitive) was certain members’ willingness to open the game, and their teams, to the black athlete.  No coach or team owner was more influential in this area that Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders.  I recently found this fantastic NFL Films clip that discusses Al Davis’s influence on professional football in terms of the minority athlete.

 

 

Todd Tobias (775 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.



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5 Responses to Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders, and Equal Opportunity

  1. Joe Allwood says:

    Chiefs were more influential…Lloyd Wells had a pipeline to the traditionally black Southern schools. The Chiefs were the first team to win a Super Bowl with more than half the roster made up of black players.

  2. chris burford says:

    Agree both were influential, but I give the nod to Lloys Wells for being the first to really network the wealth of black players which became stalwarts of the great Chiefs teams of the 60’s….a great conglomeration and synthesis of Klostermann and Wells brought an array of talent to Dallas and K.C. Hasn’t really been the same since, though hope reigneth eternal to the Chiefs return to prominence. Credit Lamar and Stram with the foresight to employ those two talent geniuses……

  3. billd says:

    Very interesting video. Davis and Gilman are deserving of the recognition but have to agree the Texans/Chiefs led the way with Lloyd Wells. Their effort fittingly ended the AFL era when the Chiefs had eight black starters on their defense in SB IV. Gillman and Vince Lombardi deserve recognition for their trailblazing as both had a majority of black players as defensive starters as early as 1964. Chargers – Faison, Ladd, Bumcom, Westmoreland or Duncan, Warren and Graham.. The Packer – Davis, Aldridge, Robinson, Jeter, Adderly and Wood. Kudos to both coaches.

    • 0tt060-74 says:

      Though not during the AFL era, it should also be noted that Al Davis hired the 1st black head coach in the modern era – Art Shell. The 1st hispanic head coach -Tom Flores. And the 1st female team major executive – Amy Trask.

  4. Tom says:

    Interesting that “Tommy Tucker Play Room’s” Brad Pye Jr, nor anyone or any where in the piece mentions one of his old LA Southern League (Washington HS) favorites Clarence Davis. Clarence played his entire eight year career with the Raiders. Clarence was born in Birmingham Ala, grew up in south LA and in 1970 returned to Birmingham to play against Bear Byrant’s Alabama Crimson Tide as a member of the USC Trojans.
    Today that 1970 game is largely credited with speeding up the process of integrating intercollegiate athletics in the Southeast Conference.

    The Chargers slowed the trend of filling rosters with black players which lends itself to Lance Alworths thoughts in the video and in the late 60’s started only one sometimes time two blacks on offense and were the last AFL and NFL to start six white players at all six offensive skill positions, QB, running backs, recievers and tight end.

    Otis Taylor voiced his complaints of racism in KC, angered over the fact that white players recieved perks and benefits, denied to black players, like new cars from local car dealerships which is included in his Sport Magazine cover article. To be fair i don’t think it was a reflection at all on the Cheifs organization and remember Al Davis was doing his team building with the societal and economic advantage of the Bay Area and not the Midwest. Al unlike Dorothy never had to give a thought as to if he was in Kansas anymore. But like the other Dorothy found himself in the Cities of Oakland and LA thats been called the places where “There is no there there”.

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