After Al Davis passed away in October, we wondered if the FBI ever investigated the owner of the Oakland Raiders and what his file might contain. We've found some fascinating stories in the past from FBI files, about famed San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli, members of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.
The Raiders did not move to Los Angeles until 1982, but when the idea surfaced in 1980, some Bay Area fans were not happy. One fan took their dislike for the proposed move a step further than others, sending Davis a veiled death threat through the Oakland Tribune.
The newspaper received it on January 18, 1980. The threat on "Just a Note" stationery reads,
"Maybe though (sic) the media we can get the word to Al Davis if he moves to L.A. He will not live to see the first game played there. A season ticket holder for 18 years"
The Oakland Tribune never printed the letter, but they did turn it over to the Oakland Police Department, then to the FBI. The FBI sent the documents, including the letter and envelope, to their lab for fingerprint testing. No prints were found. The FBI did conclude that the typewriting on the note "most closely corresponds to laboratory standards for a Smith Corona pica style of type.”
Davis was staying at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles when an FBI agent informed him about the death treat.
The FBI forwarded the case to the US Attorney's Office, which declined to take it further because "facts of the case did not merit federal prosecution", characterizing the threat as "ambiguous in nature". The FBI photographed the evidence and essentially closed the case. The file never mentions Davis’ reaction to the threat.