(EDITOR'S NOTE: To access the Amy Trask interview log on to the following attachment: Ep 38: Amy Trask Joins to Talk Raiders, Al Davis, and Much More! | Spreaker)
Former Raiders’ CEO Amy Trask was one of the first women to break the NFL's glass ceiling. In fact, she made such a significant impact in nearly 30 years with the franchise that when the league celebrated its 100th anniversary she was named one of the Top 100 Greatest Game Changers in NFL History.
And, yes, that's a big deal.
However, when we interviewed her in 2015 at the Talk of Fame Network, she made it clear she didn’t see herself as a pioneer or groundbreaker.
“I never spent one moment thinking about my gender,” she said then. “I did my job.”
And she did it so well that she stayed with the Raiders until 2013, when she left for a career outside football – now working as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network, with periodic appearances on The NFL Today, and writing a best-selling book on her experiences as an NFL executive.
It was only natural, then, that we contact her for the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast (fullpressradio.com) to celebrate March as Women’s History Month. And it was only natural that we ask about that NFL career – specifically, working with Raiders’ owner Al Davis and her most cherished memory with the franchise.
“I was with the organization almost 30 years,” she said, “and I have 30 years of cherished memories.”
Understood. Nevertheless, we asked her to name one. And she did, recalling a meeting she called of prospective business partners at the Raiders’ Alameda, Cal., facility not long after the club moved back to Oakland in 1995.
Trask was interested in striking a financial agreement with the unnamed organization, and she wanted Davis involved. So she invited him to attend the meeting … and, well, let her tell the story.
“I asked Al to join us because I thought that would be impactful and help us achieve what I wanted to achieve,” she said. “He very graciously agreed to come in. He walked in, and the business representatives were there, one of whom was a woman.
“So he walks around. He shakes everyone’s hands. He then says to this woman, ‘You know, I try very hard not to swear in front of women.’ And at this point I start looking at all my co-workers with this look of incredulity on my face, (like:) ‘Did he just say what I think he said?’
“He said, ‘I try very hard not to swear in front of women, but sometimes I slip.’ And I’m really looking at everyone right now, like, ‘Did he just say that?’ Then he goes further, and he says, ‘Even if I do slip and swear in front of women, I never swear at women.’
“Well, at this point, I am in just a state of shock, and my pen flies out of my hand, lands on the conference-room table with a thump, and he looks over at me and sees the expression on my face. And he says – and this is a quote: ‘Oh, Amy. I swear at Amy. But I don’t consider her a woman.’ “
Some women might have been offended. Not Trask. On the contrary, she said she was delighted.
“He could not have paid me a bigger compliment,” she said. “Because isn’t that what we all want in our workplace? To be evaluated on the merits, without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, religion.
“(He says) ‘Oh, Amy. I swear at Amy.’ It was either, ‘I don’t consider her a woman, or I don’t think of her as a woman.’ And my heart almost exploded because he could not have paid me a bigger compliment.”
Neither, apparently, could others within the NFL. A Sports Illustrated story profiling her once revealed that some within the league referred to Trask as “The Princess of Darkness,” a description that might infuriate some individuals.
But Amy Trask isn’t one of them.
“Love it, love it, love it,” she said. “It is the best nickname ever. It was not given me as a compliment. Mike Silver wroth an article for SI in which he quoted anonymous league sources as saying, ‘Behind her back, we refer to her as the Princess of Darkness.’ Again, not intended as a compliment.
“Raider fans took it as a compliment. I took it as a compliment. I will forever cherish my nickname. I love it.”