Here is something that I have pondered.
In this economic climate, and now with the prospect of an uncapped NFL season in 2010, I must wonder about the fates of "small market" teams.
I say "small market" in quotations because I often wonder about the veracity of that term. For instance, the Oakland Metropolitan area alone has a population greater than the state of Massachusetts, where Boston is considered a large market.
With that said, it is undeniable that the Raiders suffer from being in the unfavorable market of Oakland. Why it is unfavorable is another question. Meanwhile, the NFL has had no interest in seeing the Raiders play in the favorable market of Los Angeles.
Before I continue, if you actually believe the people that seek only to assassinate the character of Al Davis, then you're a fool. Why would they do that? Thanks in large part to Al Davis, the NFL has twice been ruled an illegal monopoly back in the 1980s.
Subjective journalists such as Jay "Marionette" Mariotti have openly admitted that they believe any and all gossip about Davis and the Raiders. Thus, they do not investigate. They root for internal violence and discord. (Side note: A "marionette" is a puppet that is controlled by strings.)
Obviously, the Raiders have been mired in futility since 2003, but I do believe that the mass media has a collective interest in keeping it that way.
Surely there can be a plethora of motives, but I do believe that the interest of the mass media is to denigrate and sabotage the Raiders and Davis however they can. Partially because media outlets such as ESPN are just lap-dogs of the NFL by law. Seriously.
Thanks to the anti-trust exemption on media rights given to the NFL by the US Congress, the NFL controls who can broadcast or rebroadcast games or portions of games. Thus, if outlets like ESPN don't tow the NFL line (to stop Al Davis), then the NFL can pull the plug.
That's not theory. It's the law. A law that has begged a question in my mind as to whether that exemption for the NFL violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Thus, the only independent source of sports information, sadly, is the blogosphere.
I say sadly because I realize that the blogosphere is just an array of people. Some are nut jobs or just careless, but others make an honest effort. Nevertheless, the pro journalists of the world feel disconcerted, irritated, or angered by the blogosphere because it effectively questions their life.
They went to school and dedicated their life to climbing the ladder only to see a torrent of good and bad info from the blogosphere become more popular than the work they dedicated their life too. This after they had tried to deny the rising tide of popularity for the Internet.
I started reading the real news of the newspaper (not the comics) when I was 13. Even if I didn't understand the story, I kept reading it or supplemental information until it made sense.
I believe that I grew-up with the same love for news that the journalists of today had and were inspired by. To me, though, the mark of a great journalist is the willingness to learn what you did not want to know.
It seems to me that many in the sports media have succumb to the complacency of blissful ignorance, especially when there's plenty of perks to go with being co-opted.
Co-option is what debate shows are (on any network).
I almost went that route after my economics teacher invited me to a lecture at CSU-MB in 2001 (at the age of 18) between Leon Panetta, Clint Eastwood, and Tom Brokaw. I approach news the way a physician would approach the condition of a patient, "do no harm" to the truth.
In the case of the Marionette, whom I've challenged to a fight, he has admitted to being an agent of lies and one that might ask, "What is truth?"
But I came of age when the popularity of Internet was undeniable (and the old AOL Newswire was awesome) so it did not seem feasible to borrow money for school only to graduate to an economic sector devoid of opportunity outside of a few big markets that require a cut-throat personality to get ahead.
Perhaps that was one part self-defeatism and one part pragmatism, I don't know. I decided to take a different course, regardless, and I would like to believe that the real journalists of the world would appreciate the intent.
That, though, is what "grinds my gears" about the coverage of the Raiders. Raider fans get characterized as "thugs" and "crazies" when the reality is that there are more fans like me than the stereotypical fans. The mass media treats Raider fans as just a collection of the fringe when really, it is just nature's off-switch.
Sometimes though, you must unplug from the off-switch.
How does that connect to the thesis question?
I wonder whether the Raiders should return to Los Angeles where the Raiders would be in a more favorable market, which they will need in order to compete in a capless NFL.
Assuming that the NFL goes capless, the majority of small market NFL teams, and even some of the bigger markets, will suffer because teams like Washington and Dallas have more money to sign and retain their players.
In this economy, where blackouts are looming for 12 teams, would it be fair for the NFL to force a team (like the Raiders) to stay in an unfavorable market, or to determine the interests of that team in relation to the other 31 teams?
Shouldn't a franchise be allowed to determine what is in their best interests? If they aren't allowed to do so, then the NFL will become an unfair paradigm where teams like Washington will compete by virtue of payroll. Meanwhile, other teams will get left to wither on the vine, or just barely survive to be along for the ride.
The NFL won't care if the same teams win, so long as people keep paying to see it.
Agents will procure short-term contracts for rookies so that the player can leave as soon as possible to cash-in with another team. This would be unlike the MLB where teams are guaranteed to have six years from a player in the Major League.
The follow-up answer has been that a single team cannot compete against itself (perhaps that is why some, such as The Marionette, will root for the Raiders to implode).
Here's another view of that. If we are speaking theoretically, as in a team competing against itself, then here is another theoretical.
What if an NFL team (like the Raiders) wanted to schedule games outside of the NFL, against leagues like the CFL and now the UFL?
If you are a fan of team that is facing blackouts this season, you should realize that the NFL is an unfair monopoly that will only be a detriment to your team's ability to compete.
Thus, as much as it may be to your chagrin, you should see that the anti-Davis propaganda is merely meant to dupe you into believing that the NFL will protect your better interests. They will not, as the prospect of blackouts has made all too apparent.
So has the prospect of a Super Bowl in London and the Brady Rule, which is a rule that only makes me think that it is the NFL's answer to lebensraum. And a Super Bowl in London is just the NFL's desire to rob their fans and stroke their egos by playing for non-rowdy fans.
Frankly, I think that if you're willing to pay the exorbitant prices required for an NFL game, you deserve to act like a fool (as long as it is non-violent or vandalistic). The idea of a Super Bowl in London is just the proof in the pudding that the NFL hates the fans, but they will take your money.
Only the team for which you are a fan will protect your interests (except Art Modell).
Some may wonder why I bother to question the NFL when I can just watch the games. In the NFL of Roger Goodell, however, I can't help but wonder what exactly it is that I'm watching.
Nowadays, all I see from the NFL is a commissioner who doesn't care about the integrity of the actual game (Spygate). A game that looks more like a racist blueprint (Brady Rule; excessive suspensions), and a media that has either willingly or unwillingly gone along with it because, "everybody does it."
Do they understand how depressing it is to hear a media defend corruption because "everybody does it?" This was also the same media that badmouthed the Raiders of the 1980s for "cheating" or playing dirty, when really, the Raiders merely used loop holes.
A loop hole isn't cheating, it is proof that a rule was ill-conceived.
Apparently, when the NFL doesn't care then neither do they. The mass media is more willing to accept the word of a liar (Belichik) or one that has destroyed evidence (Goodell), and attack the ideas and questions of free-thinkers.
Allowing a franchise to move at their will is, in fact, better for fans in the long run rather than forcing a team to stay and wither in an unfavorable market. Ask yourself what is worse: Your team not playing in your city, or your team not playing at all?
Otherwise, your team could go the way of your house and NFL champions like the Providence Steamroller and cease to even exist.
And something tells me that the NFL would love to see that happen to the Raiders ... and eventually replace them with an expansion team in Los Angeles as final revenge for the truth that Davis exposed in court.
Believe me, if it can happen to the Raiders, then it can happen to your team too, regardless of their success on the field.