Given all that has gone on with the Raiders in the past 6 years, as a fan, when you talk to other football fans across the country, in your own town or with your friends it's almost like you're in a political discussion having to defend the reasons why you support a certain candidate. I can't even begin to tell you how hysterically I laugh in my head when Bengals fans begin to start static about how bad the Raiders are and how much of a mess it is. It's usually a discussion that comes to a screeching halt when I utter the question, "How many Super Bowl trophies are hanging out in the Bengals' trophy case?"
Wonder where I'm taking this yet? Sure you do. There has been a dark cloud hovering over Alameda, The Coliseum, basically anywhere the team has been the past 6 years. However, two things (three articles) I've picked up on in the past 24 hours have reassured me (as they should us all) why I'm a Raiders fan and will never waiver in that.
When it comes to anything Silver and Black, I think we would all agree, that when Tim Brown speaks, we should and will listen. With all the talk from Warren Sapp and all the criticism of the Raiders organization lately, it's been easy to pile on and rip the team and the organization. The criticism from Sapp is much less rational and founded than the criticism that Tim Brown had on ESPN when interviewed about the situation in Oakland. Tim Brown has a right to talk, has a right to offer constructive criticism and did it in a very pragmatic way. But here's what we should all love about Tim Brown: he just didn't talk a lot (ahem, Warren), he's backing it up. In an interview on KHTK 1140 AM in Sacramento, Brown said he'd embrace the opportunity to comeback and help the Raiders as an employee. He's putting his money where his mouth is. He's sick of seeing the the organization he owes so much flounder around.
"I don't think it should be a GM type of position," Brown said. "I think it should be a consultant role. At this point I don't think I have anything to lose. ... I can't take it anymore. Every time you turn on the TV and the Raiders are mentioned there's a punch line behind it."
He also defended the organization from the harsh criticism Rich Gannon leveled on Sirius radio a few weeks ago.
"Gannon knows he came there with that 'I hate the Raiders' type mentality," Brown said. "He came in with that and showed that to all the players. And Gannon wasn't a very well liked player his whole time with the raiders. In fact he was downright hated. For a guy like Rich to say something just isn't fair to the organization."
This is a true Raider. This is why he's one of my top 3 Raiders of all time (nevermind that he was a Notre Dame boy, too). This is why he was a class act as a player and is as a person. Brown knows what needs to be done to win and he would know how to work with Davis to get it done. Having the 2nd best receiver in NFL history possibly back in the organization (not as a GM, but working side by side with Al), seems to me to be one of the best pieces of news to come out of Oakland in a while. Let's hope Al sees the potential in this move, as much as we all should.
In the same vein, Zack Crockett has also come out and defended the team and organization. This just shows that things aren't as bad as they may appear or as bad as some make things out to be. Yes, the team needs to get better, that's not even a question. But, contrary to popular belief, there is support for the team and organization out there. We as Raider Nation should know that (especially since we're the ones shelling out all the cash that keeps this organization running). Loyal Raiders players know that. Unfortunately, the only way to change public perception and opinion is by winning on the field.
While the media seems to want to focus on D'Angelo Hall's lack of effort in the face of his ridiculous salary, lack of coverage or talking in our secondary, it's our other cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha that should be getting attention - not just on defensive game film, but for the great things he does for the community off the field. His work with the East Oakland Youth Development Center speak volumes about what kind of person he is. Reading about the work he has done with teenage kids in the Oakland area shows the kind of character he has and the leadership ability he possesses beyond football. This is a player we need to keep around. He has the ability to shut down our opponent's top receiver and get kids interested in education and their future. His family officially supports Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN), which provides medical support and food to widows and orphans in Nigeria that have been victimized by poverty or abuse. Hopefully, Al Davis sees the value that Asomugha brings to the Raiders and we can get him signed to a long term deal.
(Editor's Note: Please take the time to check out the California Police Youth Charities. We know a good portion of the folks involved with this group and have seen first hand what they do for kids in the Oakland area. Great people with a great mission. Please feel free to donate as you can. We have seen this program in action and how great it is for the kids and youth groups they work with.)