When news broke that the owners had voted to approve the new CBA deal, one of the bigger stories was the fact that the Oakland Raiders had abstained from the vote, making them the only team not to vote in favor of the proposal.
Of course, rather than taking a look at why the Radiers chose to abstain from the vote, most commentators went to their go to reaction with regards to the Raiders and simply dismissed it as the crazy actions of an old man whose time has passed him. This, however, is a dangerous thing to do. While Al Davis may make controversial decisions at times, one should never automatically discount the actions of a man with as much experience and intelligence as Al Davis.
At first glance, it would appear as though abstaining from the vote was pointless. The CBA was approved by the owners with ease, and most expect the NFLPA to approve it within the next few days. So it is not surprising that many assumed this was about nothing more than Al Davis being difficult.
But taking a look at the layout of the football world and the reactions of a couple of Raiders and perhaps the abstention was much more meaningful than people suspect.
With the lockout on the verge of ending and free agency on the horizon, there is still a lot of tension between the players and the owners. The players still feel as though they have been wronged by the owners. Even if the CBA passes this week as expected, there are still a lot of hurt feelings and a lack of trust between the players and owners.
With that backdrop, two different Raiders, including one likely to leave in free agency, went to twitter soon after the vote in order to express their pleasure with what Al Davis had done. Safeties Mike Mitchell and Michael Huff both commented on the fact that they were happy with Davis’ decision to abstain from the vote.
This made me think, what if Al Davis, is once again just thinking ahead of everyone else. With harsh feelings between owners and players, this will prove to be a very interesting free agency period. Its entirely possible that Davis wanted to separate himself from the group of owners that have left many players feeling insulted and bitter.
The Raiders have a number of key players hitting free agency, including tight end Zach Miller (the team’s NFLPA representative) and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. If abstaining from the vote helps the process of re-signing some of these guys even a little bit, it would be well worth the decision.
In the end, we may never know what, if any impact this may have on the free agent period. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Davis makes another big splash in free agency and would be less surprised if the abstention was nothing more than Davis laying the foundation for big moves in free agency.
As always, for a more in depth look at the Oakland Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.