Derek Carr is more than a leader for the Oakland Raiders. He operates as the face of the franchise. His words carry significant weight in RaiderNation. On Monday, Carr could’ve selected the easy, diplomatic way out of tough questions regarding relocation. Yet, he stepped right into the fire. Sooner or later, something would eventually irritate the mild-mannered Carr. In this case, the exodus seemed to rub him the wrong way. Here is his exact quote, courtesy of the San Jose 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.”
“Out of 1,000 people, you’re going to get one or two that have something to say. And that’s with everything. It doesn’t matter if you throw four touchdowns or three picks; you’re going to get it both ways. I expect that, but 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.”
Initially, after reading this, I suffered speechlessness. As careful as Carr frames his words, this appeared like absolute passion. In effect, he asked all of those opposed to have a seat and be quiet. With that two paragraph answers one of two things will occur for the Oakland Raiders quarterback.
Fanbase Unification: In a perfect world, Carr’s words magically galvanize RaiderNation. People forgive the move and truly realize the greater goal. No one will ever buy this. RaiderNation’s division resides along city lines.
Overwhelming Bitterness: Like it or not, the Raiders have at least two more seasons in Oakland. Local fans now have another focal point to direct their anger toward. Whether right or wrong, some feel personally slighted by the team, league and mayor. Now, that Carr effectively questioned their fandom, what happens next? Will they boo the leader of a team most waited over a decade to start winning again? Granted, anyone truly offended by these words shouldn’t care how others view fandom.
Later, Carr clarified his statements via Twitter. However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith felt the need to chime in with this.
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 18, 2017
Subsequently, Carr replied:
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) April 18, 2017
This exchange clears up any remaining doubt about Carr’s willingness to combat doubters, While he’s soft-spoken and humble, there is no hesitation to him shutting people down. With this in mind, pundits should not attempt to read into his words.
Overall, Derek Carr did not say anything mean-spirited or disrespectful. Like most people, he’s tired. Exhausted by the endless complaining about relocation, something needed to be said. The Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, Nevada. Period. Either fans can jump on board or don’t. The team will continue on without those who choose to depart. In essence the decision to move is/was/will never be in the hands of RaiderNation.
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