On June 2nd of 2013, the Raiders dismissed media relations director Zak Gilbert as PR Director. Shortly after his release, the Browns scooped him up for the same position with their organization. Now, just a year later, he is resigning his position.
"We greatly appreciate Zak's efforts, work ethic and contributions to the Cleveland Browns organization," said Browns President Alec Scheiner in a press release. "He has been a true professional, and we wish him and his family the best moving forward."
Gilbert made a statement as well:
"After a lot of thought and discussion, I've come to the difficult decision to resign my position as head of the Browns' communications department. I want to thank everyone in the organization, most particularly Jimmy and Dee Haslam. I'd also like to extend my appreciation to Alec Scheiner, Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer, and thank members of the local media for the relationships we enjoyed. Working for one of the great franchises in pro football, the team with the league's most loyal fans, was a genuine privilege. I wish the Browns and all of my teammates inside the building nothing but success."
Some of you may recall, when Gilbert was dismissed in Oakland, it set off a bit of a firestorm. Gilbert was suspended and ultimately fired immediately following the publishing of a Sports Illustrated column which painted the new regime positively at the expense of the way the team was run the past few years under Al Davis. This didn't sit well with Mark Davis.
The controversy came due to Mark Davis stepping in and firing a member of the staff Reggie McKenzie hand-picked and brought over from Green Bay just a year prior. The concern expressed by some on the media at the time was that Davis was essentially making knee jerk executive decisions despite the wishes of his general manager; something he had said he would not do.
While Davis said he indeed made the decision to fire Gilbert, he said it was with the consent of McKenzie.
"Reggie understands why I made the decision I made," said Davis in an interview with the Mercury News. "Look, I understand what Reggie is trying to do. Reggie's fine. He's the one guy that I've hired. I've got to give him room to do his job."
Most fans and outsiders didn't understand what the fuss was all about because all they saw was a media relations person being fired which in itself is not cause for concern. But the controversy was never about Gilbert himself but the perceived manner in which the whole thing transpired -- a concept many had a difficult time grasping or refused to acknowledge.
Though it was never about that specifically, at this point, it seems all the more trivial as Reggie McKenzie continues to perform his duties very much like any GM in the NFL and Zak Gilbert, who found himself in the middle of it all, is now resigning just a year later.