Oakland Raiders: Hater Nation Shouldn't Throw Stones!
John Doublin – Jul 18, 2012
Every year fans of the Oakland Raiders hear the same, tired rhetoric. "The Raiders are a bunch of thugs and criminals." They hear it from the fans of other teams, from the sports media and in some cases, from players of other teams.
But, is it true? Are the Raiders merely a collection of criminals and unsavory people?
Back in the 1970's, perhaps the Raiders could have been accurately labeled as vicious, mean, dirty or some other derogatory term. They were a collection of misfits and rebels that were let go by their previous teams for being difficult and out of control. Al Davis figured out how to manage them and hired a coach in John Madden that understood how to get the most out of them.
Mr. Davis was quoted saying, "People like to say do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That's not right. In order to get the most out of people, you have to do unto them how they want to be done unto." In other words, let them be who they are and harness their passion and talent, rather than trying to force them into your little "box."
This led to great success and a lot of winning. It also led to a reputation of the "Bad Boys" of the league. A reputation that still exists today.
Guys like Ben Davidson and Jack Tatum, (rest their souls) were at the forefront of these aspersions from the media, the fans and the league. Violent hits, reckless abandon on the field and a willingness to push the rules led to speculation regarding their mental health and value to society.
But does this still hold true today? The common feeling among the mainstream media and non-Raider fans is yes, it is still true. This is evidenced by the response Raider fans get to their pictures and posts on social media, as well as how they're treated in public for wearing silver and black.
Fans of other teams never fail to avail themselves of the opportunity to make some snide remark regarding the Raiders, their players and to question the intelligence of a Raider fan.
The mainstream media always seems to avoid talking about the positives that go on in Oakland. They covered the arrests of Rolando McClain and Darrius Heyward-Bey ad-nauseam, but never mention the children's charities and community projects helped immensely by players like Aaron Curry, Brandon Myers and Mike Goodson or fans like Wayne "The Violator" Maybry or "Raider Clause."
After the assault and shooting of several Raiders fans at a Raiders vs 49ers preseason game, (at Candlestick, not O.co) and following the news of a Cowboys fan taising a Jets fan in New York, the report on fan violence was filed by mainstream media from O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
Where is the mainstream media coverage of organizations like Silver & Black Angel foundation or the Raider fan-created and led Fans Against Violence? There is virtually nothing said about these organizations from the mainstream media for one reason, and one reason only—it contradicts the picture they're trying to paint of the men from the East Bay and Raider Nation.
How about the foundation to help disadvantaged children get to college set up by former Raider Nnamdi Asomugha? Not one word about it—until he became an Eagle last year.
The media is quick to interview disgruntled former Raiders' players like Stanford Routt and Kevin Boss and document their negative thoughts about the Raiders' organization, but how many times have they interviewed men like Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown? Once! The day after Mr. Davis passed away. It appears they were hoping for nothing more than to catch him crying on camera.
Why have we seen the fact that Drew Brees and Matt Forte have signed long-term deals every hour on the hour for the last two days, but NFL Network mentioned Tyvon Branch's long-term deal a grand total of twice? (ESPN covered it just once!)
Positive news about the Raiders simply doesn't fit their agenda!
With all that said, are the Raiders still the "criminals" of the NFL? Let's take a look.
According to a recent article by Curtis Hubbard of the DenverPost.com, the Raiders aren't even in the top five among players arrested since 2000. That distinction belong to the Vikings, Bengals, Broncos, Titans and Jaguars.
In his article, "Broncos Inch Closer to League Lead...in Arrests Since 2000," Hubbard had this to say:
In a letter to fans following the team’s dismal 4-12 campaign two years ago, Bowlen said that “maintaining the highest level of character” is part of “the Bronco way.”
The facts — not to mention fans’ growing familiarity with attorney-to-troubled-Broncos Harvey Steinberg — suggest otherwise. Steinberg’s name is mentioned so often in conjunction with the Broncos these days that they should go ahead and make him the team’s honorary 54th man, retiring the number (with apologies to former guard Keith Bishop) in his honor.
Also included in Mr. Hubbard's article are links to two Excel spread sheets. One that documents total number of arrests of NFL players since 2000. It shows that, not only are the Raiders not in the top five of criminal activity in the NFL, but they are actually tied with three other teams for 19th on that list with 17 player arrests since 2000—exactly HALF that of the division rival Denver Broncos.
The second one, documents only the arrests of Broncos' players in that same time frame. It truly highlights a trend of questionable character and illegal activity within the Broncos organization. It really is shocking to see just how bad the problem is in Mile High.
Makes one think, doesn't it? This man, (Hubbard) is a writer for a Denver publication. Not a generic sports publication, not a Raiders publication, not a general NFL publication, a DENVER publication. If he can see the truth about things, why can't the rest of the football world?
The answer to that question is simple: They don't want to see the truth.
Any challenges to their pre-conceived ideas; their stereo-typing; their personal feelings about the Raiders and their fans is too much for some people to bear. They simply don't have the wherewithal to do the research and find the truth.
It is much easier for fans and sports media to bury their head in the sand and cling to antiquated beliefs about the Raiders than it is to examine the facts about the Raiders and their favorite teams and discover the ugly truth—that the Raiders are not, (to quote Denny Green) "...who we thought they were!"
To conclude, it's time for the fans of other teams, the NFL office and mainstream sports media to take an honest look at the Raiders, compare their off the field record and activity to the rest of the league and, (again, quoting coach Green) "...let 'em off the hook!"
Raider Nation should take this article, not as fuel to start an argument with opposing fans, but rather as information best used to end arguments with those same, uninformed, judgmental fans.
Just remind these closed-minded people that if they're looking for thugs and criminals, Denver and Minneapolis, not Oakland, might be good places to find some!
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