Mike Mayock admits Raiders drafted Damon Arnette despite ‘significant concern’ with character

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

For the second time in a week, the Raiders saw one of their 2020 first round picks make a terrible lapse in judgement that led to their swift release. Last Tuesday it was Henry Ruggs III who got behind the wheel of a car drunk and slammed into another vehicle, killing a young woman.

Yesterday, while the team was still very much dealing with that situation, which undoubtedly led to their loss to the Giants, Damon Arnette posted a video in which he was threatening to kill someone while brandishing several firearms.

Once again the Raiders hands were tied. As Mike Mayock explained in a statement over conference call Monday morning.

“Today we waived Damon Arnette,” said Mayock. “Very painful decision. We spent significant time, effort, and resources trying to help him in all facets of his life. There have been a series of bad decisions over the last year or so, but we can’t stand, we can not stand the video of Damon with a gun threatening to take a life. The content was unacceptable, contrary to our values, and our owner Mark Davis has been very clear and very consistent that this is not how we will conduct ourselves in this community. The bottom line; the Raiders will not tolerate this type of behavior.

“On a personal note, Ive talked to Damon, his dad, a couple of others in his life. From my perspective he’s a very talented young man with a good heart. [If] he cleans up his life, I know he can make a living in the NFL. But not now with the Raiders.”

Arnette’s actions, coupled with those of Ruggs has a lot of people pointing to the team’s many statements about how important character is to their team and therefore their draft process. But these two situations are different in that there were no signs prior to this that Ruggs would do anything like that. The same cannot be said of Arnette.

I asked Mayock if there had been anything in Arnette’s profile in the draft process that was of concern. He spoke candidly.

“Yeah, there was significant concern. And most of the teams around the league were very aware of it,” Mayock replied. “We spent an awful lot of time trying to understand his behavior. And really what kind of tilted everything in the direction of ‘ok, let’s go ahead and draft him’ was that we knew that coaching staff pretty well, we knew what they had asked him to do his last year at Ohio State, they felt very strongly that they knew who we had on our staff and that we’d be able to work with this young man. And not only help him on the football field, but help him in his life. Obviously in hindsight we weren’t able to do it. I know a lot of people, including myself, we were all concerned about this. But we at the time thought it was an acceptable risk. But obviously it’s painful on all levels.”

One potential red flag may have been this:

Yes, he said four rental car accidents. In a month.

The inevitable question becomes if there were so many red flags, and if teams around the league were also aware of those red flags, why did the team feel like Arnette was worthy of a being selected at 19 overall? I mean, I understand taking a flier on a player on day two and beyond, but it seems highly irresponsible to make that call with such a high pick.

“We found the risk acceptable after doing more homework on Arnette than anybody we’ve done in the years I’ve been here,” Mayock added. “And obviously we missed. And that is 100% on me.”

Despite Mayock falling on the sword here, it’s not fair to blame him for it entirely. He has said many times in the past that the team gets considerable input from coaches when selecting players and we also know that Jon Gruden had final say.

All you can do know is hope Mayock and the Raiders learn from these kinds of mistakes and realize sometimes the risk just isn’t worth it.

Like this article?

Sign up for the Raiders Wire email newsletter to get our top stories in your inbox every morning

An error has occured

Please re-enter your email address.

Thanks for signing up!

You'll now receive the top Raiders Wire stories each day directly in your inbox.