Amy Trask’s “You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Life in the NFL”

By Chris Malumphy

Highly recommended. This is a rare football book that made me laugh in the beginning, taught me things in the middle, and made me cry at the end. Amy Trask was the first woman to become a CEO in the NFL. She worked for the Raiders for nearly 30 years, about 16 as Chief Executive as far as I can tell. Raiders fans refer to her as "The Princess of Darkness." She has lots to say about navigating a career, dealing with sexism and other isms, confronting NFL headquarters when necessary on behalf of her team, even when it might not have been the way she would have handled things if she was in total command, and working for her boss, Oakland Raiders Owner Al Davis, reportedly one of the toughest individuals to deal with in the NFL. For a football fan, the sections dealing with the mercurial Davis are both the heart and soul of the book. "You Negotiate Like a Girl: Reflections on a Life in the National Football League" has loads of interest for football, and especially Raiders', fans, but might also be of value to a young person beginning a career either in sports or elsewhere, regardless of whether you are a woman or man. Her message to them would be to bring a strong work ethic to your job, concentrate more on doing the assigned tasks well than on looking ahead to your next position, and accepting responsibility and new opportunities even if it doesn't come with an immediate increase in salary or authority. In the end, those traits seemed to work out extremely well for her. The book is written with grace, but be forewarned, the NFL is predominately a world of men, and if you'd rather avoid frequent use of the "F" word or don't want to buy such a book for a younger reader, you may want to look elsewhere, but I think you'd be missing something special. The only thing this book left me wanting was more. Amy Trask takes the high road and avoids trashing named individuals in the book. I would love to read more from her on topics like the Raiders' legal battles, their move to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland, the disagreements between Davis and his coaches, especially Lane Kiffen, and, as a football draft historian, the disastrous choice of Quarterback JeMarcus Russell as the first pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. It is rare that a sports book could be of interest to both men and women, football fans and those who don't give a hoot for the game. This may be the one.