With his photo stunt with Denver Broncos Cornerback Aqib Talib, Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King crossed the line.
The Godfather movie trilogy is a timeless collection of mob films, filled with quotable life lessons. In light of the recent dark cloud looming over the Oakland Raiders, one in particular stands out. Seated in a helicopter, Godfather Michael Corleone holds a conversation with Vincent Mancini.
“Never hate your enemies, it affects your judgement.”
It seems that Raiders punter Marquette King is living vicariously through that quote, fraternizing with one of Oakland’s biggest enemies. To understand the infraction, you have to rewind to Week 17 of the 2016 season.
The AFC West is the NFL’s most competitive division, and the bad blood between the teams within the division is long-standing. One particular rivalry is the that of the Raiders and the Broncos, which heated up 2016.
After getting dominated in the first matchup, a couple of players on the Broncos began making comments on social media — and it happened on more than once occassion. One of the most vocal is Pro Bowler and perennial knucklehead, cornerback Aqib Talib. He’s no stranger to controversy, and has a tendency to shoot his team and hisself in the foot (or leg).
Nevertheless, Talib put his jovial recklessness on full display in Week 17, ripping the trademark chain from the neck of Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree. While Crab — as well as players and fans around the world — looked on in shock, Talib jogged to the sideline in glee of his actions.
Interestingly enough, Talib was neither penalized or subsequently fined. Despite having done this right in front of a referee.
Talib went as far to admit in a post-game interview that his actions were premeditated.
"“I said if he wear that chain in front of me Im’a snatch it off, so he wore it in front of me so I had to snatch it off.”"
Fast forward to 2017 Pro Bowl Weekend, as Talib continued to make a mockery of the incident.
Reports nationwide hit social media of Talib mocking fans, warning them to “tuck their chains in.”
The amount of disrespect is enough to understand retaliation of some sort by Michael Crabtree. In fact, a cheap shot by a fellow Raider wouldn’t be out of the question. But, punter Marquette King decided to take a different road during an encounter with Talib, opting instead to make a mockery of his teammate by reenacting the incident in a photo with Aqib.
Now, King is quite the character, making headlines throughout the season for his antics and celebrations after great punts. Whether dancing on-field or going at it with opposing players (such as Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce) Marquette has made it clear that he loves the spotlight.
While some love King’s bubbling personality, others have expressed weariness of the punter’s theatrics. The most important critic is Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, who spoke on the joking in December.
"“I want him to express himself. I think that’s when he’s at his best. But we can’t have routine 15-yard penalties out of our punter. We’ve got two in a row, two weeks in a row, and that’s got to come to a stop.”"
During the game, King and Talib decided to take a candid shot for Instagram, with King jokingly allowing his chain to snatched. Both players posted the pic to social networks, with King removing the photo shortly after Raiders fans invaded the comment section.
While some fans and critics attempted to downplay the situation, a player on the Raiders actually made his feelings known.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin took to a fans repost on the matter, commenting “No loyalty smh.”
This shows how serious the matter is, and that it is far from a silly joke, or horseplay. When a star player takes to social media to express his grief for a seemingly obvious betrayal, it’s an issue.
While Crabtree continues to take the high road, who knows what Irvin’s comments or King’s antics could lead to.
For a team coming off it’s first winning season and playoff appearance in 14 years, the last thing Oakland needs is a Judas.
As if the 2017 offseason wasn’t interesting enough, it’ll be enthralling to see what happens next.