SBD/Issue 44/Sports Industrialists

Catching Up With Raiders Chief Executive Amy Trask

Amy Trask With Musician/Actor Ice
Cube During A Raiders Game
AMY TRASK is one of the NFL’s most powerful women. She became the first and only female Chief Executive in league history with the Raiders in ‘97, and has been a pivotal part of the team for 21 years. With the Raiders lately garnering more media attention for management than their performance on the gridiron, Trask took time recently to speak with Staff Writer Jessica Collins about her career, NFL stadium issues and legendary Raiders Owner AL DAVIS.

Favorite city to visit:
Rome.
Favorite vacation spot: Cabo San Lucas.
Favorite meal: Ice cream. There are times I view it not only as a meal but as a meal multiple times a day. 
Favorite Web site: Raiders.com.
PC or Mac: PC.
A Sports figure you would like to meet: There’s many, but at or near the top of the list is JACKIE ROBINSON.
Greatest competitor: People compete in so many different regards both athletically and otherwise, I could never identify the greatest competitor. There could be arguments made that the greatest competitor might not even be human, it might be an animal.
A pet peeve: Lack of attention to detail.
A favorite quote: “To thine own self be true.”
A dream day off would consist of: Any day, any place with my husband.

Q: Aside from the struggling economy, what are some of the more important issues facing the Raiders and the NFL?

Trask: I think the teams -- which includes the Raiders but is not limited to the Raiders -- that are playing in older, aging facilities need to be forward-looking in addressing their stadium situations.

Q: If the Raiders were to lose a home game to play in London or another foreign location, would you be okay with the decision?

Trask: I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that question. ... We would have to weigh all of the issues of what would be best for the team, the NFL, what would be best for our fans here in the United States and what would be good for our fans internationally. It would have to be assessed at the time it was presented.

Q: What would people be surprised to know about Raiders Owner Al Davis?

Trask: I don’t think this is something people should be surprised to know about him, but it may be something people don’t know about him. He has been, and remains, a pioneer in diversity and inclusiveness. He has provided opportunities to minorities and to women that no one else in sports has provided. In 1963 the Raiders were scheduled to play a preseason game in Mobile, Alabama, and because of racial inequalities that existed in Mobile at that time he refused to play the game. He would not observe the racial barriers in place in Mobile and refused to take the team there so the game was moved to Oakland. Then in 1965 an AFL All-Star game was scheduled in New Orleans and he again refused to let that game be played there because of the racial barriers present, and the game was therefore moved to Houston. While I don’t think that should surprise people, I don’t think a lot of people know that. He personally stood up against the racial inequalities in Mobile and New Orleans and in each of those instances, by the force of his will, those games were moved. … He’s never wanted to publicize that fact because he didn’t do it for any other reason besides it was the right thing to do.

Trask Says Raiders' Fan Base Has Been A
Big Misperception About Raider Nation
Q: What is a big misperception about Raider Nation?

Trask: A big misperception is our fan base. There is a misperception that our game-day experience is not appropriate for children or families and nothing could be farther from the truth. Our stadium is filled with babies, children and families and fans of all ages and from all corners of the world. Our fan base is passionate, but passionate does not mean inhospitable.

Q: Who have been some influential people throughout your career aside from Raiders execs?

Trask: My husband who pushes me in every regard to be better than I think I can be. And then my parents, who taught me to pursue my dreams without regard to any limitations that others may wish to impose on me.

Q: Do you ever find it difficult to balance your professional career with your personal life?

Trask: They are very intertwined. I’ve never viewed my job as a job. It’s a part of my life. And therefore, there are so many (situations) in which personal and professional overlap.

Q: Any regrets?

Trask: I don’t believe in regrets. You make the very best decision you can make and then you make it into the very best decision it can be.

Q: Please finish this sentence: People would be surprised to know that you spend most of your day ...

Trask: Encouraging others to strive to be their very best.

Trask Says Each Game Day Is Different
Q: How do you spend game days?

Trask: Every single game day is different. I am in the stands, with our sponsors, with our suite holders, with visitors, just everywhere. There’s no particular way to spend game day. I try to arrange my movement from place to place (in the stadium) so that I can do what I need to do, without missing any plays.

Q: Do you travel to all away games?

Trask: I do travel to away games. It’s a similar situation (as home games). It’s really an “it depends” circumstance. We may have guests who are joining the team on the road or I’ll be with Raiders staff.

Q: Was there ever a moment when your gender affected your ability to do your job?

Trask: No, because I have a firm belief that if I don’t want my gender to be an issue the last thing I should do is make my gender an issue. So I simply choose not to think about the issue of gender.

Q: What keeps you motivated?

Trask: The desire to win.

Q: What is a sports business issue you are following closely?

Trask: The development of new stadiums.

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