A torch in memory of, and in tribute to, Al Davis, who declared that, "The fire that burns brightest in the Raider organization is the will to win," is lit prior to every home game. This Monday night's game against the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be no exception. And the person to light the torch prior to the ESPN Monday Night Football matchup will be none other than Olympic champion and civil rights activist Tommie Smith, who made history for more than one reason during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.
"I felt like the salute was at the right time, the right place and the right moment. It was awesome and will always be a moment that will stick with me," Raiders Owner Mark Davis said.
Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com writes:
Davis was 13 years old when gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists as a sign of black strength and unity on the Olympic medal podium in Mexico City to protest human rights violations. It "touched" the young Davis.
"We had People's Park," Davis told ESPN.com. "The Black Panthers. The Hells Angels. Berkeley had Telegraph Avenue and San Francisco had the Haight. So it was a hotbed of social activism, and then there was the war in Vietnam.
Which is why Davis asked Smith, a longtime friend, to light the Al Davis torch before Monday night's game against the Houston Texans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.