By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 10:04 am in Oakland Raiders.
Tim Brown has been in touch with the Raiders and said he plans to issue a statement through his marketing people regarding remarks he made on an Atlanta radio station about how owner Al Davis felt about African-American athletes from Notre Dame.
“ESPN even played audio of the interview and next thing I know they’re saying I said A.D. is a racist,” Brown said in a return phone call Thursday morning.“All I did was say what people said to me after my first practice, some things that came as a shock. I talked about it with my advisors at the time and we determined it was hogwash.”
The following passage created the stir:
“Meeting Al was pretty unique. I found out five or ten minutes after my first practice there that he hated African-American athletes from Notre Dame,” Brown said in an interview with WCCN in Atlanta. “And they literally told me that. They literally told me that because we’re known for using our education more than our athletic ability that he thought that I would be one of these guys that would basically take the money and run. I don’t know if that was a ploy to get me amped up, but it certainly worked.”
Brown stressed that he used the word “they,” and that he never said the comments had come directly from Davis, nor does he believe they came directly from Davis.
During the course of the interview, Brown said he was discussing “crazy things that happened with the Raiders” and that being told after his first practice that Davis didn’t like African-American athletes from Notre Dame stood out in his mind.
Brown acknowledged differences with Davis over the years on various things, but said race was not one of them, noting his hiring practices and affinity for signing players form predominantly black schools in the 1960s.
Within the last two days, Brown said he has talked to “people in the Raiders office” and plans to do so again today.
It doesn’t sound as if Brown believes this will hurt his relationship with Davis.
When discussing first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brown expressed hope that he’d be able to talk and work with the rookie at some point in the future.
Brown admitted he was initially surprised by the selection.
“From all I heard, I thought they’d be looking at (Michael) Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin,” Brown said. “But in researching it and seeing Heyward-Bey’s speed, he does look like someone Al would take a chance on, espeically when taking into account Crabtree’s health.”
Brown, not surprisingly, said he was partial to Maclin.
“The last time they drafted someone that high who could be a receiver and return kicks, it turned out OK,” he said.
The following is a statement released by Brown to sportsradiointerviews.com not long after our phone conversation:
I would like to give some face value to my recent comments on a radio interview: If you read the statement carefully, you will see it says “they said”, not Al Davis said. Early in my career , Al Davis and I may have had some contentious years , but none centered around him being racist.
I am fully aware of the history and Mr. Davis making moves over the years. I lived some of them. I have also seen Mr. Davis do things for his players, African-American players that only those in the Raider family would know.
Please, read or listen to the statement for what it is and not what everyone wants it to be.