D.A.: NFL's Silence In The Raiders Battle Is Pathetic

The NFL's disregard for Raider Nation is many things, D.A. says, including crass and obnoxious

Damon Amendolara
December 14, 2018 - 10:15 am

USA Today Images

The reports are jarring. The Raiders' Christmas Eve game against the Broncos could be the last one ever in Oakland. The city is suing the franchise over relocation to Vegas. The team doesn't want to pay rent to a group that it's engaged in litigation with. So in this lawyered-up battle of grandiose pettiness, the fans are the ones to get royally screwed. 

Most assumed the Raiders would play one final year there in '19 since Vegas'  stadium isn't ready yet. This season was to be the penultimate dance for Raider fans in the East Bay. Nothing is easy about saying goodbye to a beloved team, but at least there was the safety net of knowing they'd have one more year to emotionally prepare. 

Not any more. Unless cooler heads prevail, that December 24th date with Denver could be it. Reports of the Raiders playing in San Diego, Portland or Arizona have been floated. Even Derek Carr admits he has no idea where they'll play next year. Sorry, Raider Nation! You've been one of the best fan bases the league has ever seen, but hope you didn't have plans on Christmas Eve yet. It'll just be your run-of-the-mill emotional gutting. Clear your schedule!

The NFL is a $10 billion a year business with plenty of resources to prevent this from happening. But the league has a reputation of treating its cities like absolute trash. Forget being a loyal spouse, the NFL flirts with the new hot thing at the bar every chance it gets.

"Hey Los Angeles, how you doin'? You look so glitzy, so glamorous. Shut up, St. Louis. Pipe down, San Diego. 

"Oh Las Vegas, you lookin' good girl. All that nightlife on the strip. A brand-new stadium. Take a hike Oakland. 

"That cool country music scene in Nashville? I'm in. Houston, hit the road. Did someone say there's a new dome in Indianapolis? Sorry, Baltimore. Best if you go away. We never liked you anyway."

The one constant in NFL history has been to forget about the people that brought you here. The league does this with its former players all the time. The warriors that sacrificed their health by dragging the league to cultural dominance have to fight tooth and nail for their settlements.

The fans that have been showing up in Oakland since 1961 to what is now a decrepit old stadium. This is a team that went basically oh-for-the-2000s. This is a fan base that has shown up passionate every week for decades, and already has paid an exorbitant fee to have the Raiders. "Mount Davis" is an eyesore, it's tarped off, and a reminder of how much it cost to bring the team back from L.A. It's also a never-ending drain on public funds, to the tune of $500M. Yet these people are boisterous, emotional, amazing fans. They don't show up late and leave early. They paint their faces and don spiked shoulder pads. They wear Bo Jackson and Kenny Stabler and Howie Long jerseys. They wear their hearts on their sleeves. And they don't even know whether they've got more than one game left. 

The NFL doesn't have the compassionate to tell them, "Sorry, guys. This is it." They refuse to step in and declare, "Don't worry, we'll get it fixed so there's another season." No, it's just legal limbo. 

This stinks. The league is watching a cat fight and is letting lets the fans be pulled emotionally like silver-and-black Laffy Taffy. The league could've stepped in before all of this and created a healthier exit strategy. The NFL could've appeased hard feelings within the city government, covered some financial shortfalls, made sure there was a final year in 2019. The relocation fees of the Rams, Chargers and Raiders (which is approximately $1.5 billion) could certainly be used to create a temporary truce.

Next year should be an honorary swan song for the Raiders. Old championship teams, Hall of Famer players, all of the Oakland ghosts should be feted in front of the fans. There should be entire weekends devoted to the '76, '80 and '83 title squads. John Madden, Art Shell, Tim Brown and other greats should be honorary captains. If we're going to rip the Raiders away from the city that loves them, at least respect Oakland. Make a bad situation digestible. 

The right thing to do is play this out kindly over the final year. The NFL needs to be the mature parents here putting off the divorce until the kids are in college. They're going to graduate next year anyway for crying out loud. Can't you play nice for two more semesters? But what the NFL refuses to do is walk in and help in making it right. Because the league doesn't care. It got its new stadium that someone else will pay for, and that's all that matters. 

It's pathetic. It's crass, brazen, and obnoxious. The Raider fans have poured their hearts into this team, and the league doesn't have the guts to be able to tell them whether that heart gets ripped out on Christmas Eve of all days. Thanks for nothing, NFL. Yet again.

 Damon Amendolara, known by his fans as D.A., hosts “The D.A. Show,” from 9:00AM-12:00PM, ET, across the country on the nation’s largest 24/7 major-market radio network. “The D.A. Show” is known for its unique perspective on sports, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, colorful listener interaction, and candid interviews with athletes and coaches. Amendolara also appears regularly on NFL Network as part of the “NFL Top 10” documentary film series, CBS television and SNY TV. He is a Syracuse University grad and native of Warwick, N.Y.