It seems like it was only yesterday that I was talking about the new found love affair the national sports media has with the Oakland Raiders. Today, ESPN officially announced as much to the world. Mark Kreidler authored a piece for ESPN.com that proclaimed the Raiders to be America’s Team in wake of the debacle in Dallas.
For the record, only bandwagon fans outside of Texas and the national media still proclaim the Cowboys as America’s team. Most places I go, the sentiments towards the Cowgirls are anything but kind. Secondly, this wasn’t a glowing review of why the Raiders are beloved by America. Instead, the article is more of the same Raider hatred we’ve come to expect from Disney just done in a pseudo-complimentary manner.
For example, Kreidler likens the Raiders to the current state of the country by drawing some less than flattering comparisons.
But in almost every way, the Raiders are a living snapshot of America right now. They’re a big, sloppy mess. They don’t always know what they’re doing. They make some lousy choices and some inspired ones, and they often spend futilely. You can question their leadership almost any day you feel like it.
And yet, they’re forging ahead, reaching for better days. They can even see some of those days within their grasp right now. What could possibly be more emblematic of the country that that?
Thanks for that. Just because you tell someone they’re not as fat and ugly as they used to be doesn’t exactly qualify as a compliment.
But hey, who really cares?
For Al Davis it has never been about public perception. Only one thing matters in the court of Raider opinion – winning. Call us whatever you like. Hate in any way you can. Just know that come Sunday you’re in for a world of pain filled with embarrassment and heartache. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just ask the fans in KC and Denver how that goes.
No matter how things go from here on out this season, a few things are certain: Raider hatred will always exist even in the face of success and there are no bandwagons allowed in Raider Nation. Being a Raider fan is not like riding a bus. There are no stops along the way for people to get on and off. This is more like being on the Space Shuttle with a one-way ticket.
So, if you’re among the groupies on Earth waiting for the next shuttle to the Black Hole then I’m afraid you’re just going to be stuck waiting.
ESPN, thanks but no thanks for all the praise. In honor of all this newly discovered Raider love please allow me to give you the one-finger salute on behalf of my Silver and Black brethren (here’s a clue – this finger isn’t proclaiming you as number one either). When things were bad it was fashionable to crack jokes non-stop and a mere three game win streak has all you Mickey Mouse journalists on the jock like a stripper during a slow song.