The Raider Nation: Our Battle Against the Universe

Joey LucaniaContributor IMarch 20, 2009

In 2007, the San Diego Chargers played a home game against the Indianapolis Colts. It was midway through the second quarter, with the Chargers ahead by quite a bit.

The blue and gold was out in full force, with many Colts fans scattered here and there. However, in one section, in the very front row, there sat one lone Raider fan, proudly flaunting his black Bo Jackson jersey.

At one point during the game, the Raider fan stood up to go and purchase a snack from the concession stand. As he stood up and made his way to the entrance, many Charger fans in the section seized this opportunity to shower their longtime rival with hatred.

The lightning bolt-bearers bombarded the Raider fan with the typical, cliche stereotypes about Raider fans, stereotypes which we have become so accustomed to hearing.

Among these insults, a few that flew from the Charger fans' mouths were "Looks like they let the Guantanamo inmates out today!" and "Go back to that giant dump that they call a city!", and even "Why is an angry criminal hanging out in classy San Diego?".

However, just as the proud Raider Nation member prepared to exit the section, he turned to face all of the Charger fans, looked them in the eyes, and asked them all, "How many Super Bowls have the Chargers won?". And the entire section was silent. The only response that one Charger fan could muster was "Awww...shut the **** up!".

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I had attended the game, and witnessed firsthand the pride and swagger that has helped define what the Raider Nation is. The moment I heard all of these Charger fans refer to us as criminals and inmates, I could not help but laugh. We have heard this sort of stereotypying and hatred ever since we became Raider fans. 

Unfortunatelly, these stereotypes have always been a problem, as they help turn away possible future Raider fans and prevent them from becoming a member of the glorious Black Hole.

Due to the heavily biased and over- exaggerated stories regarding the Raider fans, many people who would like to join the Black Hole are frightened away by our reputation. But exactly how rowdy are Raider fans?

According to the media, the Raider Nation is the fanbase with the worst behavior in the league. Whenever they are asked to describe the Raider Nation, they will say that we are all thugs and renegades who are only attracted to the Raiders because we adore their colors.

They claim that we are nothing more than angry criminals who live off of welfare checks and that all of our interests lie in gang activities, not football.

The media, as with every other topic they discuss, over-exagerrates every aspect of the Raider Nation. They persuade everybody that scuffles and fights between fans only occur at Raider games, and all other NFL stadiums are 100 percent safe.

They make it sound as if we are the only NFL fans who have ever dressed up in face paint and costumes, and all other NFL fans attend games in white polo shirts and shorts. In addition, they act as if Raider fans are responsible for every bit of violence at every NFL game, even if the Raiders are not playing in the game.

The media will always take advantage of any opportunity to wrongfully portray us as criminals. At the same time, they ignore the same type of violence that occurs in other NFL stadiums across the nation. Say there was an incident at a Denver Broncos game where a Kansas City Chiefs fan was stabbed to death.

There would not be even a mention of it in the news. However, if there was a small scuffle at a San Diego Charger game where one Raider fan was attacked by five Charger fans, the next day, there would be a story on ESPN.com titled "Helpless Charger fans attacked by Drunk Raider Fan".

Of course, if a Raider Hater wants to "prove" the stereotype that all Raider fans are troublemaking gangbangers, they will probably redirct you to some online article or a YouTube video showing two or three Raider fans duking it out.

However, what they and the media will not tell you is that every fan base in the NFL contains idiotic people who show up to NFL games with the intentions of becoming intoxicated and inciting trouble. I find it ridiculous to single out one particular group of fans for having conduct issues.  

People are always so eager to criticize the entire Raider fanbase for unruly behavior simply because of the actions of one or two bad apples. But do they do the same for the Kansas City fans, or the Bears fans, or the Charger fans?

The saddest aspect of all of this is that many people find it impossible to see through the lies of the media and the Raider Haters. They fail to realize that underneath all of the face paint and masks, Raider fans are average, hard working, tax paying American citizens just like everybody else.

We are people just like all of you.

We have jobs to attend, mortgages to pay, families to feed, etc.

If you attend a Raider game in an opposing jersey, what will happen to you? 

If you do not enter the stands talking smack and trying to cause trouble, the worst case scenario is that the fans will curse at you and mock your team. Realistically,there is a good chance you will make it out unharmed. But will the media or the Haters ever tell you that? Probably not.

Of course, the media will urge you not to attend a Raider game in your lifetime, and that if you do, you will be the victim of a great deal of violence. To anybody who says that, I encourage you to go to a Philadelphia Eagles game wearing a Cowboy jersey, or a Bears game in a Packer jersey, or a Cleveland Browns game in a Raven jersey.

Do that, and I guarantee you will see real violence. You will see NFL fans who truly belong in a state penitentiary.

Though our antics and the ways in which we cheer for our team may be controversial, I do not, in any way, apologize for our enthusiasm towards our beloved Raiders.

As my final message, I ask all people who are considering becoming Raider fans to ignore the hate that surrounds us and to come join the glorious Nation. As life long Raider fans, we will fight off this hate and continue this everlasting battle against the universe until the day we leave this earth. We are a proud Nation, the one Nation, the only true Nation in pro sports. We are the Raider Nation.

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