The Raiders are a football team. They play in Oakland. Oakland has been the hometown of franchises in every major American professional sports league. Those teams have normal human being fans. Some of you read those last four sentences, bless your hearts, and are currently muttering "no shit." But apparently there are a depressingly high number of people who you could currently knock over with a fucking feather off that news flash.
In the wake of the murder of a Dodgers fan outside of Pac Bell Park in SF on Wednesday night, and another round of what has become weekly newsworthy violence at 49er games, some of us thought it would be a good time to cut the bullshit in terms of the Bay Area sports violence conversation. Namely in regards to Oakland and the Coliseum being considered an inhuman hellscape which is constantly concern-trolled at about the same rate as black-on-black Chicago crime, while SF and it's professional sports venues are just lovely, old chap.
Now I don't want to surprise you, but it turned out that was not a conversation that the SF sports crowd is too keen on having- at this point in time, of course. But it has turned out to be an illuminating conversation nonetheless. I've learned something. I've learned that by being a Raiders fan I am considered, by perhaps even the majority, to be a "thug." I am clearly not a "thug." So I guess that means I'm a wannabe "thug." None of you have ever asked me if I was a thug, or a wannabe thug. Oh, we would have laughed and laughed about that one! So I feel that you owe it to me to hear me out on this;
My second memory is being in the car on the way home from the grandparents, just getting off the High St. exit on 880 no less, when the Raiders beat the Browns in the '77 playoffs (first memory was getting licked to death by the family dog Bo- I'm a baby dude, that's a little much. Chill the fuck out) My third memory is the Raiders beating the Eagles in the Super Bowl. We lived next door to Skip Thomas at the time. I used to get my hair cut at The Razor's Edge by Dick, the guy who used to cut all the Raiders' hair in the 70's and then they would call him to bail them out of jail on Friday and Saturday nights. To be honest, I usually got "the other guy" to cut my hair, because all the OGs would be waiting for Dick (yeah, waiting for Dick. Laugh it up, fuzzball). You can hear the Coliseum PA, or back when they had Days On The Green, bands, from the front lawn of the house I grew up in. I've set foot out of the house I grew up in and walked and rode my bike to Raiders games. I almost couldn't handle it when I met Lester Hayes at Alameda Athletic Club in the early 80's. I was in a cast with a broken leg when I met Jack Tatum in high school. He commented on how tough I must be. The next day the pain was finally gone enough to ditch my crutches. Jack Tatum is a golden god.
I am approximately 5'8, maybe 150 lbs. I haven't socked anybody in almost 20 years. One or two people who were there will read this, and laugh at the idea of it being on some hardrock shit. I have a degree in Creative Writing and Social Action. I have never seen the back of a police car. I have never fired a gun. I bump Too $hort like he's going out of style because A) he's going out of style, and B) I went to high school in Oakland from 1988 to 1992 and fell unabashedly in love with rap music because you would have had to have been a fucking idiot not to.
Look at that picture. Mr. Davis. The helmet. IT'S FUCKING BLACK AND WHITE FOR CHRISSAKES! Have you ever seen Straight Outta LA, when Mr. Davis and Al LoCasale talk about NWA and the apparel phenomenon? We could team up on it for a week and not dream up more stereotypically uncool, out of touch white guys than those two. The Raiders logo and brand has been virtually unchanged since the 60's. How many teams have changed their uni's to black and/or sold alternate black jerseys since the late 80's? I dare you to tell me that the Raiders cater to a "criminal element," or whatever thinly-veiled code word is serving its purpose right now.
Jets fans are not airplanes. Cardinals fans are not birds. Broncos fans are not horses (except for their GM). And I'm confident that all Detroit fans are not yet running around on all fours biting zebras in the ass. By the same token, a Raiders fan isn't some crazy half-blind dude with swords stuck in his head. Some of us just exercise our birthright to root for the hometown team. Whatever else kind of nonsense you want to hang on us aside from that is on you.
Oh yeah, Redskins vs. Raiders on Sunday. It will be televised locally (that will bear mentioning from here on out), but it's a really a moot point since I will be going to the game as a humble guest of the fam Autumn Wind, coincidentally my opponent in The Jack Tatum Memorial Fantasy Football League this week. I delayed posting the preview hoping for some more concrete news about our QB situation, but it's still up in the air with Flynn expected to start but Pryor not yet ruled out. My understanding is that the Redskins D is absolutely terrible, to the point that the people who know more about football than me are giving the Raiders a good chance to win regardless of who starts at QB. A win with Flynn at the helm would be quite the confidence boost. Because he sucks. So keep an eye out for ya boy sitting kinda low on Mt. Davis. I'll be wearing an Expos cap. Sun in our grills, this ain't my first rodeo.