Frantz: Walker, Raiders didn’t learn lesson

‘We are aware that Javon Walker was the victim of a robbery,” the Raiders declared last week. “We have been told that he will make a full recovery in the near future and resume his preparation for the 2008 NFL season.”

Well there you have it. As long as he’s ready to suit up and play, right? The rest is just details. Not our concern. As long as we can run and catch, let’s go!

Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else think a differently worded statement from Alameda was in order? Something like this, perhaps:

“We are aware that Javon Walker went to Las Vegas and made a complete ass of himself this past weekend. We are aware that he used several thousands of the $16 million that Al Davis just guaranteed him to buy numerous bottles of expensive champagne, which he then shook up and sprayed all over the patrons of a night club. We are also aware that it was less than two years ago that Javon was shot at by angry patrons of a Denver night club when he and several of his Broncos’ teammates, including the late Darrent Williams, who died in Javon’s arms, sprayed expensive champagne on another crowd of unsuspecting people. Finally, we are aware that Javon, who was adorned with over $100,000 worth of jewelry at the time, which may as well have been arranged in the shape of a sparkling target across his chest, didn’t learn a damned thing from that terrible, traumatic experience in Denver, as evidenced by the behavior that led to the vicious assault that hospitalized him this weekend. We wish him well in his future endeavors, wherever they may take him — outside of Oakland.”

I will stop short of declaring that Walker “got what he deserved” in Las Vegas, because he didn’t. No one deserves to be beaten and robbed, even if they were pretty much asking for it. But I’ll stop just this close to that declaration. What I will state with conviction, however, is that the Raiders are getting what they deserve in this mess.

Desperate to end the agony that the past five seasons have been in Oakland, Al Davis has poured virtually every nickel he could find into this year’s roster. He overpaid for his own free agents, overpaid for other teams’ free agents, and he’s playing every long shot on the board, including Walker. Cut by Denver after a couple of knee surgeries and the questionable character that led to the aforementioned shooting in January of 2007, Walker didn’t have many suitors, but the Raiders paid him as if he were coming off back-to-back All-Pro seasons anyway. And they did so without any concern whatsoever about the “C” word: Character. And now, young, dumb, and flush with cash, Walker has gone out and shown the Raiders’ brass exactly how little of it he has.

As for the crime itself, it’ll be interesting to see what the police investigation turns up, but it’s a bit hard to swallow Walker’s tale of being abducted in his hotel room (where he was presumably tucked in for the night, reading the King James Bible), dragged through the casino and out to the street, beaten and robbed. I mean, I’m no expert when it comes to planning and carrying out assaults, but it would seem to me that if the criminals were successful in getting Walker to answer his door in the wee hours of the morning, it might have served them well to beat and rob him in the privacy of the room, rather than in the street where any number of passersby may see them.

Conversely, it is not at all hard to envision a scenario in which the heavily bejeweled Walker and his buddies went into the club, began drinking and throwing Al Davis’ money around, and then decided it would be fun to pour $15,000 worth of sticky champagne onto the heads and clothes of dozens of complete strangers. It’s also not difficult to believe that some of those strangers, irritated in some small way by Walker’s soaking wet gesture of friendship and camaraderie, may have followed him out of the club, desiring an opportunity to thank him for sharing his drinks so liberally.

The thugs who beat and robbed Walker are criminals, even if they were delivering what they believed to be some sort of vigilante justice. But dropping Walker into the category of “victim,” given his behavior and personal history, is tough for me. As for the Raiders, well, they’re victims of their own largesse.

Sports personality Bob Frantz is a regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at bfrantz@sfexaminer.com.

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