Did Al Davis Pay For DT’s Funeral?

The answer is no.

In the days after the passing of Raiders leader Al Davis there were many stories written in the Bay Area about Davis, his impact, history and life.

On Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle a story was done with John Herrera, who was one of Davis’ right-hand men over the last few decades. Herrera actually joined the Raiders when he was a teenager and worked his way up to being a confidante of the Raiders managing general partner.

Here’s the important passage from the story:

“If Davis kept reaching out to you, you had a loyal friend for life. Countless former players and employees got financial help, medical help or sometimes just game tickets or a friendly phone call from Davis.

“Davis even picked up the tab for former Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas’ funeral in 2000, because his family couldn’t afford it.

“You could write volumes on Al Davis because there’s so many different people that he helped,” Herrera said. “Without anyone else knowing about it. He had a heart as big as anyone I’ve ever known, and the perception of him was not that way. The perception of him was of this tough guy who always had to have it his way.”

As frequently happens in death, the late person’s deeds are puffed up even more by those left behind. Davis helped many of his former players over the years. That’s fact.

But Davis did not pay for the funeral of Derrick Thomas.

Most of the costs were covered by his insurance through the NFL/NFLPA. Extra costs were paid for by Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt and Chiefs GM Carl Peterson from their own pockets.

There’s no denying Davis was a D.T. fan. Every time the Chiefs-Raiders would play, during the pre-game warm-ups, Davis would seek out Thomas and say “Haven’t you always wanted to be a Raider?” Thomas would laugh, but at one point said “No, I’m having too much fun sacking your quarterbacks.”

Davis did visit Thomas after his accident when he was in a Miami hospital. That action alone speaks well of Davis and his feelings towards Thomas.

They don’t need to be puffed up with false claims from his employees.


9 Responses to “Did Al Davis Pay For DT’s Funeral?”

  • October 17, 2011  - jim says:

    These inaccurate stories about Davis do nothing to extole his acts of kindness that were for real. It actually detracts and makes it looks as though somebody is trying to ‘cover something’ up by straight out lying about events in time and place.

    The more alarming part of this ‘story’ is the fact that DT didn’t take care of his money in such a way that, even while he was an active player and “getting a game check”, he didn’t have enough money to plant him. That’s the sad part about professional athletes that all too often get reported after the fact. Where were his financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, tax counselors, etc.?? If he din’t have those parts in place, why???, and does the league not do anything to encourage, aide, and monitor those things for young, rich,vulernable athletes. What a shame and a waste. I thought DT had a foundation for something or other? Why did they not come to this issue?

    Sad…..real sad.


  • October 17, 2011  - txchief says:

    The Al Davis spin machine is operating a full throttle. I’m sure he did many good works, but there’s plenty for his appologists to “make up for.” I remember him for his win at any cost philosphy that caused him to roll out rosters full of cheap-shot, dirty, cheating players and staff. One must not also forget his manipulative legal strategies that bilked the taxpayers in L.A. and Oakland as well as his business partners. He made his own bed.


  • October 17, 2011  - Michael says:

    “…he didn’t have enough money to plant him.” What a total D-bag comment. Jim be careful, it’s not the fall from the pedestal that will kills you it’s the sudden stop.

    If I not mistaken, Mr. Derrick Thomas has already been judged, I don’t think you are qualified for that; Sir.


  • October 17, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    While it’s no surprise when a poster like Jim spews garbage they know nothing about…but Rick Reilly perpetuated the Davis lie in his ESPN column. That’s just lazy and pathetic on Reilly’s part.


  • October 17, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Everybody’s exploits in life are magnified in death beyond what they were in life. Al Davis was a complicated man with good and bad qualities. Both of these aspects of him as a person are clear from the recollections of others. If he was a fan of DT it wouldn’t surprise me if he did pay or offer to pay for his funeral. I’ve heard similar stories of him paying for all of the medical bills for a staff member’s wife when she was seriously ill and others he cared about in need. The flipside to that is what he did to Marcus Allen and others out of spite. If not for free agency Allen would have spent the final years of his career rotting on the bench where Davis put him despite the fact he still had great talent and skills. But that’s the way it goes. If not for that side of him we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy Marcus Allen in a Chiefs uniform and the sheer joy of watching him find a way into the end zone when everybody knew he was going to get the ball. I’m a firm believer in the old adage the older i get the better I was. Hopefully the living will speak of my great deeds and endless acts of kindness when I’m gone as well and forget about the times I angered or disappointed them. RIP Al.


  • October 18, 2011  - jim says:

    Michael and cychief24, not judging him sir, just tellin it like it was reported. If he didn’t take care of his money it’s no fault of mine, and the implication of others having to step up to ‘give him a proper burial’ aka ‘planted’, has been documented. No bigger fan of DT in the entire universe than me. Maybe my colloquialism of ‘plant him’ was off your politically correct meter, but you get my point. No disrespect to DT, in that regard, at all.

    I am choosing to treat you as gentlemen with this response…..not because you are, but because I am, and please don’t confuse my kindness in this response as weakness. Let’s let this be finished.


  • October 18, 2011  - Dave Worthington says:

    isn’t asking DT if he wants to be a raider actually “tampering”?


  • October 18, 2011  - Michael says:

    Sorry, not finished.

    Nice use of the thesaurus by the way, but not impressed.

    Every man has faults and I guarantee that your fair share is more than fair. No more case in point that if one has to refer to himself as a gentleman, probably is not.

    I don’t care what kind of self-righteous station in life you have, but TRUE fans never take shots at the man; period. I believe all of us are entitled to their opinion. However, no one dedicated to this site (if I may speak for them), or in the Chiefs Kingdom, or all the REAL Derrick Thomas fans want to hear your rhetoric.

    So, here is MY opinion:

    Shut your cake hole and take it elsewhere.


  • October 19, 2011  - jim says:

    Mature, very mature. NOW are we done?




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