It wouldn’t be an Oakland Raiders home game without the lighting of the Al Davis torch.
So they’re packing the torch, and – for good measure – also bringing Tommie Smith.
“This is a very, very historic moment for me,” Smith, the Lemoore High and San Jose State alum, international track and field star and longtime activist, told ESPN.com. “To do it for the Raiders, I have a lot of respect for the things that they do. The Raiders have always been out in front in terms of change. They were always called a renegade team. But look what the renegade team brought to light.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis said Smith was his personal choice for the honors in Mexico City, where the Raiders take on the Houston Texans on Monday night. Smith and U.S. teammate John Carlos made their silent, raised-fist statement following the 200-meter run at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
“When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists, it touched me,” Davis told ESPN. “A 13-year-old kid growing up in the Bay Area, which was a hotbed of all kinds of things.
“It felt like it was the right time and the right moment and it fell in place.”
Smith, a ninth-round pick in the 1967 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, will make just his second visit to Mexico City since the 1968 Games.
Bee staff contributed to this report. Read more of the story at www.mercurynews.com.