It's My Dump

Derek Papa's Manifesto on the Raiders Move to Vegas

Derek Papa
April 07, 2017 - 12:43 pm

When you walk up the stairs getting off the Coliseum Bart station, there’s a tunnel that leads to the Coliseum. You look across and see a huge Raiders banner saying “Commitment to Excellence.” You can smell the hotdogs they sell in the little carts and debate whether or not to grab one. You hear music being played by people trying to make a buck, along with selling knock off Raider, Warriors or A’s merchandise. Most importantly, you are walking with a group of people dressed in black, wearing crazy face paint or costumes, all united by one team all screaming “RAAAAIII-DERRRRRRRRS”. 

When you experience all these things, you know it’s a Raiders Sunday in Oakland. I have been privileged to experience this for the past 20 years thanks to my father. When I was younger, my father represented every Oakland team, A’s, Warriors & Raiders. I was born in Oakland but wasn’t raised there. I would always visit my father in the Bay Area during the summer time & Christmas. For the majority of my life I grew up in Houston, Texas, but I never rooted for any of those teams. I always represented Oakland sports wherever I went. If you know me, I’m usually rocking a black Raiders hat. I love the Warriors & A’s, but there is nothing like my love for the Oakland Raiders. I live and die with this team every Sunday. I remember living in Denver rocking my sweet Raiders backpack and pissing off the Bronco fans in elementary school. I would meet my dad for the games every time the Raiders played at Mile High. Same thing whenever the Raiders played the Texans or Cowboys, I was there. 

I have to say that I am very lucky to have my father let me join him wherever the Raiders were playing. On Christmas break, I would fly to whatever road game the Raiders were playing, meet my father at the team hotel, go to the game and fly home to the Bay Area with him on the team charter. I have traveled the country just for the Raiders but nothing compares to going to a game at the Coliseum. 

As a kid until my last year of college, I would go with my father to Raider home games at the end of every season. I was there in 2002 and the Raiders beat the Chiefs 24-0. I was there when the team finished up the terrible 2006 2-14 season. I was there when they lost to the Chargers in 2011 to lose the division (thanks to Tebow). I was there in the pouring rain in 2014 when they beat the Chiefs to get their 1st win. I was there when they had an amazing season and then unfortunately Derek Carr broke his leg. I have too many Coliseum memories, good & bad. Now since moving to the Bay Area 3 years ago, I get to work all the Raider home games for the station's Pre & Post show. I also do stats for my father during the broadcast. I love my job. They pay me to go to Raider games, still can't believe that. And now that the team had their best season since 2002, the job has been amazing. And that's why Monday was extremely tough. All these great Coliseum experiences will be gone in 2 years (maybe sooner). The team I grew up loving wherever I lived will be gone from their home. I know there are bigger Oakland Raider fans than myself, who watched them since 1960 & leave Oakland twice. I have too much attachment to the Coliseum. I was raised in the Coliseum or Oracle from TV or radio crew members who took care of me as a baby while my father broadcasted games. I know people give the coliseum a bad rap that it's an old dump. It maybe is, but it's my dump. It's Raiders fans dump. It's A's fans dump. And guess what, we like our dump. I've been to football and baseball stadiums all over the country, nothing beats the coliseum. So you can watch the game from Michael Mina's restaurant or you can actually watch a damn football game.  It goes the same for the city of Oakland, it gets a terrible unfair rap. Even though I didn't live in Oakland for most of my life, I was born there and have had to defend it to those who are ignorant. Raiders fans also get a bad rap. They are characterized as dumb violent fans. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my experience at the Coliseum, Raider fans are passionate smart fans who just want to party. This new Vegas stadium may look great from the outside but it will never have the love the Coliseum brings every Sunday. You think Vegas fans would show up to torrential downpour when the Raiders were 0-10? No, only Oakland fans would do that. We'll see the love this team gets in Vegas, but I highly doubt it matches the home field advantage the Coliseum brings. 

With that being said, I want to see Raiders fans at the games these next few seasons. I know you're angry, I'm angry too. This vote on Monday was a gut punch to all Oakland natives. A slap to those who supported the team when they returned from LA & all the terrible football seasons. Mark Davis chose to leave for Vegas and that's his right as an owner. I respect, understand & accept his decision, but God do I disagree with it. I know things won't be the same but the Coliseum needs to be full next season. I love this Raider football team, I never said I love the organization. This team has finally got back to where they should be as a winning team, that's why the timing of this move sucks. But I know I'm going to hold on to & cherish the feeling I get from Oakland Raider games. Those who say "I'm not going, I'm not giving them my money", I 100% understand that decision. You can choose to no longer be a fan and that's ok. But, it’s too hard for me to not be a fan. I don't know if I'll ever go to a game in Las Vegas, but I'll never stop being a Raider fan. I hope this upcoming season does not get ruined because of the distraction of Las Vegas. 

The joy of the Raiders winning could block out any thoughts of their future departure. So Raider Nation, I understand if you don't want to go to any more games but I say why not cherish the Oakland Raiders while they're still here. Trust me, you'll miss it when it's really gone. Soon, there will be no NFL team in the East Bay. The only team in all of the Bay Area will be the 49ers, a fact that disgusts me. But what really is sad is that children will grow up with no Raider football and no knowledge of what was there once. While the decision to leave is very sad, it would also be sad to have an Oakland Raider season with no Black Hole. So Raider fans, walk with me through the tunnel for one last time. Show up to the games for your love of the team and prove everyone wrong. Like my father said on the show, "I don't think the story of the Oakland Raiders is done to be told." 

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