Is This The Apocalypse? Sports Media Has Praised The Oakland Raiders

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IAugust 2, 2010

ALAMEDA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis speaks during a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin of the Oakland Raiders at thier training facility on Septemer 30, 2008 in Alameda, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I recently read a blog that pointed out that ESPN and other mainstream outlets of the sports media are picking the Oakland Raiders as a strong dark horse team that can make the playoffs after being under .500.

I thought it was funny that the blogger would ask, "What are your thoughts on the way the media has so conveniently changed their opinion of the Raiders?"

As if the praise is all part of some brilliant scheme of reverse psychology that will make the Raiders over-confident and then blow it.  The Raiders can no longer claim to be persecuted by the sports media, and will suddenly get lost in the newly opened void.

Some at ESPN have called the Raiders a playoff contender.

Like many Raider fans, I do believe that the sports media has used Raider Nation as the "whipping boy" of the sports world.  People like to think that Raider fans are the worst in the world, and that by comparison, they aren't as bad.

At the same time, Al Davis enables the mud-slinging because he never responds to the rumors and derogatory comments. 

Until 2003, Davis didn't need to, because the Raiders would win, regardless.  Yet, the perpetual BS would undermine the confidence that employees of the Raiders would have in the organization.

The sports media kept slinging and Davis never tried to stop it.  Raider Nation gets mad at the sports media, while everyone else calls Davis, "crazy."

In my mind, the side you blame is just a matter of preference.  Raider Nation preferred to back our team, while the sports media preferred the drama (and sometimes egged it on).



Unlike many Raider fans, I don't believe that every facet of the sports media detests the Raiders and Al Davis. 

At times, it becomes profitable for the sports media to bash the Raiders, because the Raiders are hated by a large number of football fans; thus, bad news for the Raiders equals good news for Raider haters. 

In that sense, I can't blame the sports media for doing their jobs.

I can blame the sports media when it perpetuates total BS, like, "biggest post-Super Bowl collapse in NFL history," or, "the quickest release of any quarterback taken first overall," in regards to JaMarcus Russell.  By the way, the ESPN article that made that statement has changed ever since I reported the statement as defamatory.

And I can blame ESPN when it would rather continue to employ someone that openly admits to reporting gossip about the Raiders and then goes off on a fork-tongued rant about his, Jay Mariotti, delusions of persecution by Al Davis.



I recently wrote an article for The Bleacher Report in which I referenced a quote by Bill Currie of Pittsburgh media, in which Currie described Al Davis in an incredibly offensive manner, as possibly, "Satanic" and a, "heretic."  I then went on to write that I understood why a Pittsburgh native like Jay Mariotti would have such a visceral bias against Al Davis.

Firstly, it is not contestable in my mind that Mariotti has a deeply inculcated bias against Al Davis.  The source of any inculcation can vary; nevertheless, such visceral bias usually would come from pervasive forces, and anti-Semitism is certainly a pervasive force in society. 
To deny that would be foolishness.
Nevertheless, I do believe that people in the mainstream media are often too terrified to impugn each other, because really, the whole aura of the mainstream media as a source of innate truth can only work when people trust it as a collective.  Yet, the reality is, people in the mainstream media are just as susceptible to the pitfalls of the human condition as anyone is; whether by conditioning, circumstance, or just plain conceit.

Like law enforcement, the "mainstream media" acts on a code to protect its colleagues from the scrutiny of the governed because law enforcement can't work without the public's trust.  In the case of the media, the term for that is, "The Thin Yellow Line."
I was frustrated with Around the Horn (and ESPN by extension) because of Mariotti and his inexplicably fork-tongued nonsense about Al Davis and the Raiders, mainly because I could not even begin to understand why he, or anyone, would have such vitriolic hatred (that they try to disguise) against a great man.
I now understand it, and therefore have closure on the issue; even if that closure required the exposure of a veiled bigot.  I would continue the feud in hopes of understanding his motives and perhaps goad an epiphany.  Now that I know, I don't need to continue after this.
The only conclusion I could muster was run of the mill bigotry and not only against Davis personally, but also for his trail-blazing policies on minority hirings.  But then I imagine that the personal attacks on Davis are really a coordinated effort; either begrudgingly or wantonly by a network owned by a company with a long-history of questions about racism and especially anti-Semitism.

At the end of the day, my frustration is not personal, it's abstract.  I think many people get into the mainstream media with the hope of making a difference, only to find themselves knee-deep in BS. 
So, I don't hate the mainstream media. 
It may seem condescending, but I can feel badly for people in the mainstream media.  I see a bunch of people that committed themselves to an education that would supposedly liberate their mind, only to shill themselves for the peanuts of some sniveling creep, because they need money to pay off the debts accrued to liberate their mind.
I know I have my strokes of brilliance when writing.  I gained that confidence after years of correctly analyzing football games (amongst other things) and not with outlier reasons, but by understanding the calculus of the game.  Football is less about individual statistics and more about the statistics of a unit (run defense, pass defense, run offense, run defense, etc).
I decided to put my writing to better use and start crossing, "The Yellow Line," in hopes of conveying the reality that the mainstream media is not on a higher plane, just some vaguely defined yet powerful organized force that some follow in a dystopian manner.
I wanted to "shock" the conscious of people in the media, because the only way their confidence would work was when their truth-bullying would work; essentially, coercing people to believe that the media innately knows all and sees all.
It ain't about the truth ... except the one about the love of money being the root of all evil.  FYI, "evil" is just a palindrome for, "live."  I would submit to you that "evil" is the opposite of what it means to, "live."



I, a Raider fan, do not hate the mainstream media in general.  I like shows on ESPN radio and TV, such as The Herd, PTI, and even Around the Horn. 

People like Mariotti however, cross the line big time. 

As such, I crossed their line in general, because he wasn't fired, as he should have been.  More than that, he should have been run out of town on a rail.  I once was content with just being some blogger that wrote off-beat articles and analysis.

Mariotti though is the same, "journalist" that rants about the behavior of guys like Pacman Jones in strip clubs (while Mariotti's only sources seem related to Toronto strip clubs) and the "thuggery" in pro sports (which in truth is just coded catch-all for racial pejoratives, such as the n-word, white trash, etc).

To top it off, Mariotti would admit that he puts his integrity aside to trash people, as exemplified by his rants against Al Davis.

I went on the offensive by sandbagging ESPN, the sports media, and anyone that perpetuates, "big lies" on the belief that the truth is relative. 

In one case (I emphasize the word "one"), I goofed in a statement that I made about ESPN and was called out by Keith Olbermann.  The irony of the mistake is that it exposed what I had suspected (and a literal answer to my prayers) the whole time, and that was the question of whether the sports media read my articles.

As in logic, sometimes a falsehood really can imply a truth.