A few months ago, I wrote an antagonistic column calling on fans of the Oakland Raiders to do one simple thing if their beloved franchise bolts for the second time.
Stop giving Mark Davis and his family your money.
But now that the Raiders leaving town is actually happening – heading for Sin City and a shiny new stadium while leaving one of the most dedicated fanbases in all of sports behind – I feel a need to renew the call to not validate what amounts to be extortion by owners of the teams that we love.
Please, stop giving Mark Davis and his family your money.
Bad haircut aside, what we have here is a man who inherited a sports franchise from his father and immediately began looking for ways he could get that team away from the very people who helped make it what it is – shopping the Raiders to anybody who would bite.
They met with the City of San Antonio for a pitch. Can you imagine that? The San Antonio Raiders?
But a lack of loyalty aside – the same kind of loyalty that his father supposedly built into a family, a nation – I’m failing to understand the connection to an idea that doesn’t necessarily even apply anymore.
When the Oakland Raiders were in their heyday, the team itself was representative of the long-haired, hard-scrabbled, blue-collar Bay Area fold that lived in the East Bay and worked all week so they could make their way down to the stadium and watch their favorite team “just win.”
They embodied the spirit of the people who supported them – in a division that included the clean-cut Baltimore Colts, the Raiders were the bad boys in the ankle-length leather jackets and wild moustaches, sporting long hair that flew in the face of rivals like conservative Kansas City.
And without those fans, that Raider image never would have taken hold. That sort of thing wouldn’t fly in Buffalo or Denver, Miami or Cleveland. It took a special type of people to create that culture there in Oakland, and because Las Vegas came in with the offer of more money, the Raiders were willing to wave goodbye to their own legacy not once, but twice in their existence.
I get it – it’s hard to walk away from a team that comprises so much your own identity. The camaraderie means something, and so does the fact that so many life milestones are wrapped up in this crazy game that we call football.
That’s the only way to explain how the birth rate in cities that win the Super Bowl for the first-time spike nine months after that happens.
I am a Super Bowl baby – born almost exactly nine months to the day after the San Francisco 49ers won their first Lombardi trophy.
But when they packed up and moved to Santa Clara because Silicon Valley was a more lucrative long term option, I swore off ever going to another 49ers game again. They left the city that defined them as well, and despite the fact they didn’t leave the area – they abandoned that legacy.
The place where Dwight Clark made “The Catch.” That’s all going to be condos before too long. The stadium that shook on television across America during the “Battle of the Bay?” If you were lucky, you were able to get a seat back when they scrapped everything for demolition.
As Americans, and as sports fans, we’re as wrapped up in our respective teams as anybody else out there. There are some solid comparisons to be made between The Black Hole in Oakland and the firms that roam the streets of Manchester and Chelsea – absolutely, pure, die-hard fanatics that would do anything if it meant willing their team to win.
That’s all gone now.
So instead of booking your flights for the 2020 season already, and putting down your PSL deposits for the stadium that hasn’t even yet broke ground, why don’t you do something else that actually matters. Take your family to Disneyland. Buy a new television. Get that bathroom that you always wanted for the house. Add a sauna.
Because no matter what else you decide to do with the money, not lining the pockets of the greedy men who don’t care in the slightest about those who helped make them the millionaires they are is more important than any sort of blind loyalty one must be feeling.
I genuinely feel bad for the few Raiders that I know, and realize that they’re crushed.
But the first time they step foot in Las Vegas for the sole reason of watching a football game?
At that point they’ve forfeited their logic.
The wheels of Stockton keep spinning
What do you do when you see people who are literally actively working to impede progress?
Do you say something to them? Or do you just sit back and watch how colossally their respective egos overlap in the joint effort to destroy the fabric of one of the most impoverished and crime-infested cities in California?
I’m all for rabble-rousing and am a firm believer in the First Amendment – otherwise I wouldn’t be writing these words right now. But politics is nuance – it’s not black and white in any respect, and compromise becomes the name of the game for who chose to make the foray.
Earlier this week riot police were called in to provide security for the Stockton City Council meeting and Facebook went nuts with accusations about how Mayor Michael Tubbs is too scared to do his job without the protection of police.
If that’s true, what does that say about your community? It’s funny on a surface level to point that out, but when elected officials – especially those that mollywhop incumbents that end up getting indicted just months later for allegedly operating an extensive embezzlement scene – don’t feel safe to interact with the public they serve, maybe it’s time for a reality check.
Just a thought.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.