The Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers played in a charity basketball game last week. When asked about the game, Raiders head coach Allen stated that he was happy that his players were doing something for a good cause but was not happy about how they did it, “they’re paid to play football. Any time you put that at risk, you’re taking a significant risk.”
While he was diplomatic about the event, according to John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game, Allen was “pissed” that some of his players chose to take part. The problem is, not only did some of the Raiders participate, those who did have had injury issues. Tyvon Branch missed all of the 2013 season and Latavius Murray had just missed part of OTAs with an injury.
The Raiders are in a crucial junction in their attempt to turn around a team that has been one of the worst in the NFL for years. After two seasons of going 4-12 with horrific rosters, the Raiders finally dug themselves out of the deep cap hole they were in and were able to put together a respectable roster this offseason. But most expect the leash for Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie to be a short one. Thus, it’s understandable that Allen, whose sole focus is on getting the team ready for the season, was upset that some key players risked injury in June in a high school basketball gym.
Anyone who followed the Raiders the past few years knows they have been plagued with injuries. In fact, injuries were a large part of the reason that the team’s second half of the 2013 season was so atrocious. With several front line starters going down, the lack of depth on the team was revealed and other teams took advantage of that, embarrassing the team over the final weeks of the season. Luckily for the Raiders, no one was injured and the team can move on, but some of those players who participated likely got an earful before they were able to do so.