As the offseason has continued, Raider Nation has continued to keep a watchful eye on their beloved Oakland Raiders. Even when the news was at its bleakest, many of the following have posted to message boards to calm the rest of the brethren.
Through it all, even the least optimistic of Raiders fans has weathered the storm of the media only to now be accosted by other teams' fans raiding the Nation's message boards to vilify, taunt, and insult the Silver and Black following.
I myself have been insulted just for writing pieces having to do with the Raiders, a coming of age for any writer you could say. I won't reveal who it was, but I will say that they went out of their way to create a profile so they could tell me that I am, "a no-talent hack." The only thing that had caught me off guard was that I wasn't writing anything of conflict, some might say I wasn't writing anything of interest judging by the popularity the article received.
Water under the bridge right? Sure, until the 2008 NFL season starts. These messages of hate have grown considerably more frequent since Big Al made the trade for DeAngelo Hall. Prior to the trade and the boat load of free agent signings, the Raiders and Raider Nation weren't even being paid attention to.
Now, you can't go on a Raiders message board without seeing an upset Charger fan or an incessant 49er fan making fun of the Raiders, Al Davis, and Raider Nation. This hasn't deterred the avid Raider poster though, in fact it seems that the Raiders posters have banded together to fight off this scourge commonly referred to as, 'Haterism.'
It's a well known fact that the average Raider fan knows far more about his team than the most fanatical of other teams. It's also very well known that the average Raider fan can carry on a legitimate debate using real facts and analysis unlike most other football fans. The common thread in these debates is that rarely have Raiders fans resorted to broad generalizations of groups of fans to denigrate them as a people...at least as far as I've seen.
A colleague of mine recently wrote an article where fans of other teams decided to post comments. You can see the article here. It was a decidedly biased article, but nonetheless the debate turned ugly quickly as you'll see if you scroll to the bottom of the article and read the posts. Even I had something to say, which when it comes to these types of back and forth, I normally stay out of them.
One must wonder what would cause people to spend their free time insulting people minding their own business. I find it hard to believe that people would have the time or care to bother with Raider Nation unless there was something to it. Prior to the start of free agency, nobody cared if 'Rocky the Raider' was on a message board saying that they Raiders would win the Super Bowl next year...except for other Raiders fans. Now, going on to a Raider board and saying something positive about the Raiders, could get you a long rant about how your mother is a convict and you are a welfare baby and that's why you're stupid.
I wouldn't fret though Raider Nation. Your numbers are strong, and for every hater, there are three or four in the Nation that have your back. Rejoice! Once again, the Raiders and the Raider Nation are relevant on the football scene. Thanks to Mr. Davis, others fear Silver and Black domination.
Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, and 49ers fans fear it the most. They fear not being able to have anything to say to the average Raider fan that elevates themselves in the conversation. They won't be able to dust you off with the simple phrase, "19-61 over the past five years," for much longer. They may actually have to learn about what they speak and stop throwing the false rumors at you so you'll have pause.
Soon, you'll be able to stop the hater...and they won't be able to say that you're living on the past. Soon, they'll have to revert back to the 'old' put-downs dealing with the costumes, how all Raiders fans are hoodlums, and how Al is controlling everything. Well, they might be right about Al, but they aren't right about you are they? Ah, who cares, as long as the Raiders are beating their teams it doesn't matter what they say. The only thing that matters is the old Al Davis mantra, "I'd rather be feared than respected." Their posts are proof of that.