It has to be weird to be a member of the Raiders right now. Your team is moving to Las Vegas but not until 2019, which means there are a couple of seasons to come in the Oakland Coliseum.
Older Raiders fans have dealt with a relocation of the team before, but in many ways this second relocation is more depressing than the first one. Fans were too bummed to even protest the move, and players still have to answer questions about it, which means they have to toe the company line and try not to anger the fans you’ll play in front of in Oakland. It’s a question reporters would ask, and one a Raider would want to dance around.
But while center Rodney Hudson (“We’re just trying to focus on right now”) and defensive end Khalil Mack (“[it] feels weird now”) were diplomatic, Derek Carr decided to scrutinize the loyalty of the fans who wouldn’t follow the team in Vegas. From ESPN:
“We’re not going to split up like you’ve seen other cities do,” Carr said Monday, and immediately images of Cleveland and Houston in the mid-1990s, when the Browns and Oilers departed for Baltimore and Tennessee, respectively, come to mind.
“We’re not going to do things like that. For the ones that do, I don’t really believe that they’re true Raider fans. I feel their hurt. I’m with you. I hurt, too. But at the same time, we’re all in this together and we’re just going to do it together.”
Carr has written silly (unrelated) things before, but this remark comes off kind of mean, and is a good example of why it’s better to sidestep the question. If you feel the fans’ hurt, then you have to realize that some of them are going to be too heartbroken to root for a team in Las Vegas. If Leonard Tose had been able to move the Eagles like he wanted to, I wouldn’t have grown up an Eagles fan. I would’ve rooted for whichever crappy replacement team Philly eventually got.
Carr tried to walk it back a little afterward:
He loves all Raider fans, unless they’re not true Raider fans, which they aren’t if they don’t continue to follow the team when it moves from Oakland, which means … ugh. My head hurts.