In the modern NFL, as in sports in general, social issues and players run hand in hand. If you are honest, the link between players and their beliefs ring true. The Oakland Raiders are not immune from the intersection of athletics and life. To answer two difficult questions, FPC Raiders writers Pete Camarillo, Ray Aspuria and Kenneth Berry answer two challenging questions.
How do you address the hypocrisy of fans upset about Marshawn Lynch’s politics but ignoring Nick Bosa’s?
With the Raiders being featured on Hard Knocks on HBO. No, I’m serious. If Lynch were to return and Bosa drafted by Oakland, seeing those two interact would be fantastic. Fans would see how the two interact and it would either burst the bubble of pre-conceived notions or reinforce the hypocrisy. How Bosa and Lynch get along would put a microscope on the pair allowing fans to see exactly what’s going on without the rose-colored glasses of bias. For all we know, the teammates will get along just fine and the Raiders will be better for it. We have seen in the past two players don’t necessarily have to like each other for a team to be successful. The respect as athletes/players should be there, but genuine like/dislike … if it amounts to Ws, hypocrites dissolve. It’s only when a team is atrocious that the dark side of fanhood rears its ugly head.
We gotta be careful when we talk about fans. RaiderNation has long been a conclave of both left and right. The Badasses were notorious for influence with the Black Panthers and Hell’s Angels. That means we can’t lump our fans on either side of the spectrum. Public discourse should always be a welcomed part of RaiderNation.
Still, Oakland is the heart of Calif. Social consciousness and that’s where Marshawn is from. Therefore, what do we expect from him? On the other hand, Oakland is also getting gentrified, which means more money and influence from the right. However, that’s always been there. Northern California has pockets of both red and blue.
Point is, I don’t care about fans’ opinions on politics. Not only does it not matter, but it should be expected.
I will only address all the work Marshawn Lynch has done in his hometown of Oakland in spite of the negative energy aimed at him. Bosa is a privileged legacy riding off his family name and pedestrian production to promote an intolerant mindset that probably exudes throughout his family and some of the Raiders fan base. In the words of the late, great Nipsey Hussle, “Don’t pay clowns any attention.”
Should a player’s politics matter to fans? If yes, what should fans expect from their athletes?
I want to say no, but I’ll spare you the whole football is the ultimate meritocracy narrative because it is tired. We can’t act like politics didn’t cost us the 2017 season. There was that whole alleged controversy over the anthem as well as JDR’s family politics, which may have contributed to division in the locker room.
Hence, an athlete’s politics shouldn’t matter, but it does. As long locker rooms are mature enough to handle someone being vocal about politics, whether they agree or disagree, I have no problem with it. The problem is you don’t always get 53 men capable of mature discourse in an NFL locker room, and that’s the rub. Not to mention the coaches and front office dynamic that adds in. We all know where they stand. Thus, we want it not to matter but it always does just like any workplace.
It’s hard to say no to that question. Because with the political climate these days, and how peeps try to get anyone who disagrees with their political stance “cancelled”, it’s almost impossible to say no, even though I think the answer should be no. Fans should expect their athletes to do the one thing their exorbitant salaries demand — Win. But that’s the not the case. Fans want athletes to mirror their own personal political views, and that in itself is foolhardy. We long revere the athletes who “think for themselves” yet when their views do not align with ours, peeps will revile said athlete.
A player’s political views shouldn’t matter, but fans are fickle, irrational and entitled. The politics of the TEAM OWNER and shareholders is what should matter most.