It’s not unusual for reporters at any level to get into tiffs with certain teams, but it’s rare that it happens with the same team multiple times in a season. The Raiders gotten into it with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, and ESPN a few times, during the 2008 season, but their latest feud with Chris Mortensen is getting really interesting.
Recently, Mort reported that the the Oakland Raiders were negotiating with a controversial investor, and the Raiders issued a statement that the story was completely false. Mortensen then decided to naturally do what any good reporter would do. He said that taking to him is a “privilege” and that the Raiders have lost said “privilege”. Via the Associated Press….
“The Raiders have lost the privilege with me of running stories past them for comment,” the e-mail [from Mortensen] stated. “This stems from their history of denials to most stories I have reported — as well as others in the media — when those stories have eventually proven to be true. The latest example is I reported that Al Davis planned to interview Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and, of course, the story was trashed by a team spokesman.”
Mortensen has since clarified that privilege was the wrong word to use, but also added that the team, “repeatedly diminished and discouraged efforts to reach out for an official comment based on the repeated denials of prior stories.”
While I also agree that the word privilege was the wrong word to use, his statement about the team is certainly true. Certain teams will never regain prominence, or attain it for the first time, until their Owners are ousted. Al Davis is unfortunately one of those at the top of the list.