Derek Carr Is Learning That You Can’t Please Everyone

Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Oakland Raiders defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Oakland Raiders defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is dealing with some backlash of recent comments, and it’s not the first time that has happened this offseason.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is learning a lesson the hard way this offseason — you can’t please everyone.

The franchise quarterback in Silver and Black has, certainly unintentionally, stirred the pot a bit as of late. Either with something as simple as a tweet, or with something as public as a press conference, Carr’s choice of words have drawn some criticism.

It started in mid-January, following the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. Carr sent out a series of tweets, none of which showed direct support for the newly elected President, but he received backlash nonetheless.

Specifically, Carr made reference to a boycott of the inauguration that roughly 60 members of the Democratic party were participating in.

After beginning to face a firestorm of tweets, Carr sent out a response.

Someone replied to one of the tweets, saying “The ‘give him a chance’ argument is basically asking us to be ok with all of those problematic issues.” To which Derek said:

Carr’s message seemed fairly straightforward — he’s going to be the best version of himself, regardless of who holds the highest power in the land. And he, like he often does, preached unity and love in a time when both were tough to come by.

But that didn’t stop people from criticizing even that. Carr learned quickly that toeing the political line, no matter what you say or how you say it, is a dangerous game for a public figure such as himself.

A little more than two weeks after that, Carr again found his name at the center of some controversy. There was a story about a 7 year old boy collecting recyclables so he could pay for his future college tuition — certainly an admirable display of ambition and work ethic from the young boy.

The kid managed to raise $10,000 for himself, which is an incredible feat. Carr ended his complimentary tweet with “Get off your tail and go work hard 4 what you want”, which is the part that caused a stir.

The criticism Carr faced was that he was missing the big picture — the fact that the kid feels the need to have to work at such a young age to pay for college is the sign of a broken system. Some pointed to Carr leading a privileged life, like he never had to work hard to be in the position he is currently in, therefore he shouldn’t be giving out advice like this.

Similarly to his political tweet just a couple of weeks prior, most of the criticism was completely ridiculous. All Derek did was compliment the ambition and work ethic of a young boy with big dreams, and used the boy as an example for others to work hard to achieve their goals.

But once again, Carr had to learn a lesson the hard way. That toeing the line of something as innocent as this could be deemed as taking the wrong stance on a social issue.

Most recently, Carr caused a stir, particularly amongst Raiders fans, for comments he made during a press conference. Per the Mercury News:

"“We’re not going to split up like you’ve seen other cities do,” Carr said. “We’re not going to do things like that. For the ones that do, I don’t really believe that they are true Raider fans. I feel their hurt. I’m with you. I hurt too. But at the same, we’re all in this together and we’re just going to do it together.”"

Carr continued:

"“If something happens, it’ll be the 1 percent. Hopefully ya’ll don’t focus on that kind of stuff because there’s the 99 percent that are loyal, faithful fans that are going to ride with us wherever we’re at.”"

If you didn’t know already, you probably guessed that the part where he said “I don’t really believe that they are true Raiders fans” is the part that caused the commotion. Feathers of fans were ruffled, and Carr came out a short time later to clarify his comments.

But the story was just getting started, and this time, the headlines became national. ESPN’s show that consists of not much more than a bunch of yelling and shouting did a segment on Carr’s comments, to which he used the infamous “Don’t @ me” line in reply to them.

Fans across Raider Nation have varying opinions on this, and it raised the debate of what a “true fan” really is. The truth is, the definition is completely subjective. Being a fan of a sports team has a wide range of levels, from bandwagon to casual and from serious to diehard and everything in between. There is no “right or wrong” way to be a fan.

At worst, Carr’s comments should be considered a gaff. A poor choice of words in a time where the Raiders are trying to show empathy for Bay Area fans while expressing excitement about their new home. It’s a delicate balance, and in this case, Carr missed the mark. That’s it — nothing more, nothing less.

So considering the push back Carr has faced since January in the aforementioned situations, the question is, should Carr change how he handles himself in public? Should he tread more carefully on political or social issues? Or to put things in even more simple terms — should he stick to football?

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Absolutely not.

The reason that I (and surely many other fans) like Derek is because of how genuine he is. He’s humble, hard working, relatable, honest and many other things — and those traits are a big reason why he’s so popular, and why many look at him as the next face of the NFL.

So if Carr sees that the country is divided and he wants to send out a tweet to try to unify the people, he should do so. If he sees a young boy working hard at a young age to achieve his dreams and wants to encourage other to show that same ambition, he should do so.

Carr has an incredible platform that he can use to affect positive, meaningful change. And he can choose to use that platform however he chooses, which is exactly what he should keep doing. Because as he’s certainly learned over the last few months, you can’t please everyone.