Posted: 8:16 am Monday, March 16th, 2009

Oakland Raiders launch all-out media assault on Lane Kiffin 

By Post Staff


New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has spent the past four months ticking off Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban, but that’s mere peanuts compared to what he is dealing with his former employer, Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders.

Kiffin is due in a San Francisco courtroom today for a deposition in his claim against the Raiders, who have refused to pay the remainder of his contract since they fired him Sept. 30 for violating the NFL’s clause regarding loyalty to its owners.

But Davis didn’t wait until today to start attacking Kiffin. He went on the offensive Friday, order his right-hand man, PR chief Mike Taylor, to launch an all-out assault against Kiffin.

The subject matter left little doubt as to the contents of the E-mail. “Kiffin’s deposition will focus on his repeated lies to the media, team and fans,” Taylor wrote.

The Post was one of dozens of media outlets in SEC Country, Northern California and national outlets that received Taylor’s E-mail on Friday evening.

Kiffin went 5-15 as head coach of Raiders in 2007-08. Davis fired him for insubordination in September, accusing Kiffin of searching for other jobs the moment he arrived in Oakland.

The highlights of the E-mail attack:

- The Raiders detailed how Kiffin was reprimanded by the NFL for violating league rules in regards to contact drills in offseason workouts. It took Kiffin all of three months to violate his first rule.

- A letter to Tennessee president John Peterson detailing Kiffin’s supposed violations of Raiders team conduct. Davis noted that he reprimanded Kiffin with “two written warnings and several verbal admonitions” in regards to the loyalty clause included in the NFL Constitution. Davis also was not happy that Kiffin took several shots at the Raiders at his introductory press conference at Tennessee.

- Davis accusing Kiffin of providing information about the Raiders to their opponents after he was fired on Sept. 30. Kiffin also coached the Raiders in a manner asking to be fired. Two days before his termination, Kiffin ordered kicker Sebastian Janikowski to attempt a 76-yard field goal against San Diego, which would have been a new NFL record by 13 yards. The kick fell laughably short.

- The Raiders also scoured through old media clips, looking for untruthful statements by Kiffin about his conversations with Al Davis. Kiffin claimed in almost every Northern California newspaper that he and Davis did not communicate, though Davis claims he warned Kiffin many, many times throughout his tenure.

The E-mail is fairly damning, and Kiffin will have a tough time recouping two months worth of salary.

That said, the E-mail also highlights the incredible pettiness of Al Davis and the lengths to which he will attack his enemies.

Included in the E-mail was a copy of a new bylaw of the NFL Constitution regarding loyalty to the owner, as well as a laughably positive biography of Al Davis worthy of Charles Foster Kane, in which Davis is described as the “guiding force during five dominant decades” of Raider football.

Taylor, with whom I have no previous relationship, called me personally Friday evening to tell me he was going to send me an E-mail. When I hadn’t written anything on this blog within an hour, Taylor called me again. “Is everything OK? Just wanted to make sure you got the E-mail,” he said.

Taylor is probably the only PR guy in the NFL who is the No. 2 man in the organization. According to a Bay Area media source, Taylor’s job is to do “whatever Al Davis asks him to do, regardless how petty, childish, unbelievable it might seem.”

The same source called Kiffin “the most manipulative, calculating person I have met in many, many years” and referred to him as a “raging a**hole.”

Kiffin’s attorney, Alan Loewinsohn, responded with a statement on Friday evening:

- “Starting next Tuesday at a hotel in Oakland, the Raiders will no longer be able to rely on unsupported allegations made in the media, as key Raiders personnel, starting with Al Davis, will finally have to answer questions under oath at their depositions, a process that Coach Kiffin is confidant will demonstrate that he was fired by the Raiders without cause and show that the continuing assault of allegations being made against him are false.”

Davis is due in court for a deposition on Tuesday. Get your popcorn ready.