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Oakland Raiders, Mark Davis shouldn't run from past

The Oakland Raiders' decision to fire public relations director Zak Gilbert was a bad public relations move. It would help if they had their chief PR guy to clean up this mess. Unfortunately, he has been fired. The circle is vicious.

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It's the type of news that would've come and gone had it landed in September. But this is early June in the NFL, and minor news has a way of being amplified.

Team sources told the San Francisco Chronicle that Raiders owner Mark Davis was unhappy with how both he and his late father, Al Davis, were portrayed in a Sports Illustrated piece written by Jim Trotter. Gilbert was put on leave immediately after the story was published in April. On Saturday, Gilbert's absence became permanent.

We read the Trotter story this morning, and there certainly are aspects of it that would make any organization cringe. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was portrayed as a man who inherited a pigsty, forced to tend to matters both minor (hiring a head groundskeeper, constructing a draft room, upgrading video equipment) and major (completely rebooting the team's scouting and personnel departments, treating burns incurred in salary-cap hell).

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The Raiders reportedly dumped Gilbert because the SI piece -- which surely now will attract more eyeballs -- delved into not just the team's struggles in recent years but why and how the downturn occurred. The guts of the story focused on positive strides made by McKenzie over the last year, but that apparently wasn't enough to save Gilbert.

The Raiders shouldn't run from the last decade. It's a dark period from which the organization can learn. Firing the PR guy over a story anchored in facts makes it look like the team is trying to will the bad old days into the ether. That's not going to happen.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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