Greg Papa typically goes on vacation the first three weeks of July. The legendary local broadcaster, who also works for NBC Sports Bay Area, had his standard summer schedule interrupted by Raiders president Marc Badain.
He asked for an in-person meeting and got one July 5. That's when Papa says he was fired after 21 years as the Raiders' radio voice.
Papa will be replaced by respected broadcaster Brent Musburger. Raiders radio color analyst Tom Flores was also fired, and will be replaced in the booth by Lincoln Kennedy, who previously worked as a sideline reporter.
Papa's firing was a shock to his system, a disappointment of the highest order.
He revealed his account of the firing by the Raiders and why he believes he was let go Monday afternoon on 95.7 The Game (KGMZ-FM) in San Francisco during his three-hour radio program with Bonta Hill. It was his first since returning from vacation.
Papa says his firing stems from a 2015 radio segment where he harshly criticized the Raiders and owner Mark Davis for interviewing Mike Shanahan for their head-coaching vacancy.
Shanahan coached the Raiders from 1988-89, and had a huge falling out with then-owner Al Davis (now deceased) that was not resolved.
"I was extremely outspoken about how it could not happen," Papa said during his radio show's opening segment. "I threatened to quit the team and that I would have no association with [Shanahan if he was hired] because of my love and respect for Al Davis."
Papa said Mark Davis took great exception to the take, and the fact Papa didn't warn him it was coming. Papa wasn't able to smooth things over with Mark Davis despite an effort to do so by phone a few weeks later.
Papa refused to apologize directly for the segment.
"I'm not sorry to this very day," Papa said. "I lost a job that I did for 21 years at the highest level, a job I loved beyond any job I've had. This is painful for me personally to lose this association with this particular team. But I do not take back those words, and I do move on in my own life."
Papa said time didn't diffuse his rift with Mark Davis, and that Jon Gruden's return might help smooth things over.
It didn't help Papa remain employed.
He also shot down the notion the pending move to Las Vegas played a role in his departure. Papa was not asked to go to Las Vegas, but said he was open to broadcasting Raiders games from Sin City.
"The bottom line, as I say goodbye to the Raider Nation formally today, is that I no longer fit with this organization," Papa said. "I just do not… I just don't fit anymore. I wish them luck. This is going to be a hard year for me. You know how much I love this game. The hardest day for me comes right after the Super Bowl, when I don't have a game to broadcast for months.
"I am going to do college football this year, and I may have a role in the NFL. The fact it happened on July 5 is bad timing in all respects, but I just think, as this team proceeds into the future, I no longer fit. This is not Al Davis' football team anymore, and maybe that's my own mistake. That day he died in Houston, I should've realized it then, but I realize it now."