The title of the book is You Negotiate Like A Girl, but there is nothing "girly" about former Raiders CEO Amy Trask's new memoir. And Trask tells her readers that before they even dive in:
Author's Note: There are rough words in this book. I did not use such language gratuitously or to be provocative. I used it in some instances because I believe it necessary to adequately recount a memory or share an anecdote from my years in the (National Football) League. In other instances I used it to convey a sense of the environment in which I loved to work. If this language offends you or stops you from sharing this book with a young person you don't believe should read such language, I am sorry. I will note, however, that if you or such young person wish to have a career in football, such language is not aberrational, it is the norm.
The warning is vintage Trask, the highest-ranking woman executive in the NFL during her career with Raiders, whose nickname, "The Princess of Darkness,” she took as a compliment. Trask, now 55 and a talking head on CBS' That Other Pregame Show, was true not only to her environment, but herself when writing her book, scheduled to be released September 15.
"I can use an old expression, 'I can put my head down on the pillow at night and know that I was absolutely honest in what I wrote," Trask told ThePostGame. "It was me. People might really like it, they might be highly critical or they may love parts of it, but not all of it, but it was me."
The "me" Trask refers to is an eccentric, intelligent, passionate woman who, career-wise, defines herself not as an NFL executive or even a lawyer, but as a Raider. She is as outspoken as they come, and loyal, sometimes to a fault. Writing the book was, in part catharsis, and in part a peek behind the veneer that she wore for parts of three decades as a Raiders employee.
It's been five years since her mentor and, it may be fair to say, best friend, Al Davis passed away at the age of 82. The news was devastating – personally and professionally – but Trask stayed with the Raiders for about 18 months after his death before deciding to move on. The day after she quit was quintessential Trask.
"I woke up the next morning and told my husband I was a blight on society," Trask says with a laugh. "I didn't know what I was going to do. For the first time, I didn't have a job."
Though she sits on the board of Tony LaRussa's Animal Rescue Foundation, enjoys plenty of time at the beach, and fancies the idea of writing children's books, a life without the Raiders was a bit more than Trask could fathom. Luckily for her – despite her abject fear of being in front of a lens – CBS came calling and Trask has gone from awkward around the media to being the media – though she's quick to say she’s not a journalist.
"I've always been terrified of cameras, of having my picture taken or being on video," she said. "If you go back and look at old home movies, I am the one not in them. If you went back to the day after I resigned, I would have bet you the whole (expletive) fund, that I would never have been on TV. … The first year on TV, I held Bart Scott's hand under the desk during commercial breaks; he would pry my hand off his and put it back on the table. (The upcoming) season is the first season on TV that I can tell you that I am looking forward to."
It may also mark the time Trask is finally coming into her own, rather being a Raider. She says she never really seriously considered another NFL job after leaving Oakland – "For me, being a Raider, I didn't view that as fungible, I didn’t view myself as anything other than a Raider" – Trask had invested more than half of her life in the Silver and Black, the Black Hole, the Al Davis way. Though she may not have seen it as indoctrination, her years with the Raiders in both Oakland and Los Angeles most certainly created a public persona that was much less at ease than the one that exists now.
The writing of the book was clearly part of the process of distancing herself from her Raider life and into the life she shares now with her husband of nearly 31 years and two cats.
"I wish I had a deep, profound answer for when people ask me, 'Why did you write a book?'" Trask said. "It strikes me that there should be a profound answer, but I don't have one. It struck me that it would be an exciting adventure and that's exactly what it was. I've just become more comfortable as time has passed. But it was also logistics."
Shortly after leaving the Raiders in May 2013, Trask was approached by CBS and was on the air that fall. Her commitment to the network involves commuting from her Los Angeles-area home to New York nearly every week of the season. The opportunity has allowed her to continue to feed her passion – football – but also to have a true offseason.
The book is not a "tell-all" in the true sense – Trask generally only named names when she felt it complimentary – but it certainly shines a light on the men who run the NFL, how the league operates and what it was like to have an intimate relationship with one of football's most iconic owners.
There is little left to the imagination in terms of colorful language, and as the ramp- up before the publication date rises to a crescendo, Trask is enjoying the ride.
"I went from, 'Hey, I think I want to write a book,' to seeing it in hardcover," she said. "It's surreal."
-- You Negotiate Like A Girl: Reflections on a Career in the National Football League by Amy Trask With Mike Freeman is published by Triumph Books. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Follow Amy Trask on Twitter @AmyTrask. Follow Mike Freeman on Twitter @mikefreemanNFL.