Updated July 19, 2021 - 9:18 pm
It’s a cynical business, the NFL. Stay in long enough, and the emotion of separation becomes tougher to identify.
That wasn’t the case Monday.
Marc Badain resigned as president of the Raiders for unknown reasons beyond a released statement about focusing on his family and other pursuits, ending a three-decade run with the organization.
He began as a training camp driver and departs one rung below owner Mark Davis.
He didn’t just climb a ladder. Try Everest.
“On the personal side, Marc and his family are so important to me that you can’t describe it,” Davis said. “On the business side, he did magnificent things for the Raiders that probably wouldn’t have been done without him.”
Badain, on Davis via text: “I love him like a brother.”
A sudden move
Days and weeks will pass, and it’s likely a more specific narrative for Badain’s departure will become clearer. Maybe it’s as he said. Time to move on. Maybe there is more to it.
It was absolutely sudden. A caught-off-guard moment.
For now, however, be wary of speculation on social media.
Davis said it was Badain’s decision to resign and that he neither requested nor desired it. So the Raiders, a week from opening training camp, move forward with 17-year employee and executive vice president and general counsel Dan Ventrelle as interim president.
That’s how it works.
“You never want people to resign,” Davis said. “As I told our staff (Monday), in this business, you get jaded. Some of your best friends are traded, cut, go away as free agents, retire, resign.
“We traded Ken Stabler for Dan Pastorini, who broke his leg and Jim Plunkett comes in at quarterback and we win two Super Bowls with him. Art Shell was hired twice as coach and fired twice. These were some of my best friends. But you can’t let things get in the way of business and take away your overall vision.”
Say this for Badain: Of all that he accomplished as team president, he was at his best regarding the most difficult and appointed task.
It was 2015 when Davis bestowed him the title, even though Badain had been working in such capacity since Amy Trask resigned as CEO two years earlier.
At the time of making things official, Davis said he waited to name a president because of the uncertain stadium situation in Oakland. That whoever assumed the role would inherit the responsibility of leading such a massive undertaking as finding the team a new home, in the Bay Area or elsewhere.
Fast forward a few years — and thousands of meetings later — and ground was broken on the 65,000-seat structure in which the Raiders would call home.
“I don’t think Allegiant Stadium is built without Marc,” Davis said. “He did so much work on it, in the community and talking with public officials, coordinating everyone together to get it done. I’m so grateful for all that he did for us in getting the stadium built.”
It’s the business
As he addressed his staff Monday, Davis couldn’t help but remember the story of Marcel Reece, a former fullback with the Raiders and now team executive who was in attendance. Davis called it a “gut punch” when the Raiders released Reece in 2016.
He was hired as a senior adviser to the owner last year.
“When we cut him, I told him how bad it hurt me,” Davis said. “But that’s the business. And now he’s back with us. Our job is to get better each day. Winning on the field and off it. That has to be the main focus of everyone in the organization. You can’t take things personally.
“Marc Badain’s tenure with the Raiders is something he should be very proud of, his family should be proud of and all of Raider Nation should be proud of. He’s family and always will be.”
They move forward. That’s how it works.
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.