Sept. 16, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders fans cheer during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Open Letter: An Apology to Raider Nation


Dear Raider Nation,

I’m sorry. I really am.

I’m sorry that this site has garnered a reputation for hating on the Raiders, and I’m sorry if you think of me as being a Raider hater. I’m sorry for the undeserved criticism we dished out on the Raiders and their fanbase, especially recently.

I’m sorry, and please give me a chance to explain.

Let me begin with an article published on Sunday by staff writer Chris Furry, calling out five cities who don’t deserve their teams.

The No. 1 team on that list? The Oakland Raiders.

I was the one who asked Chris to do that article, thinking that it would be an interesting read, and nothing more than that.

Chris agreed to write it, and when he was done, I looked over his draft and after a few edits, gave it the ok to publish. I knew that we would get some criticism and angry comments. I mean, who wants their team to be on a list like that?

However, nothing prepared me for the backlash that Chris would take. The comment section was flooded, almost immediately, with incredulous fans wondering why the hell their team was listed.

There was swearing, rambling, name-calling, debating, you name it. People were upset, and rightfully so. We even received rebuttals from Fansided’s Raiders and Blue Jays sites.

Quite frankly, I was shocked and taken aback. Chris and I tried to respond to the commenters and argue why their beloved franchise shouldn’t belong in their city, which, I should have known, was an impossible task.

There’s nothing that I can say now that will ever make up for the hatred that came from the publication of that article. What I thought would simply be “an interesting read” turned into a nightmare, with hoards of fans pummeling us with comment after comment.

I can apologize over and over again for us including your city and team on the list. But I know that will bring you little satisfaction.

So, I will try and satisfy the fanbase of the one team on that list who we have hurt most — the Raider Nation.

Yes, Raider Nation, I called you blind. Blind for being so supportive of a team that has been on the wrong path for the past decade. Blind for paying good money to sit in the dilapidated Coliseum to watch a losing team. Blind for your willingness to overlook the horrible decisions made over the years — from drafting JaMarcus Russell to, well, drafting JaMarcus Russell.

And you know what?

I was dead wrong.

When I saw the angry comments that came pouring in (again), and the reaction around social media to my article, I got a sick feeling in my gut, the feeling of immediate regret.

I woke up a sleeping giant, and although I defended myself in my comment replies, I knew in my heart that what these fans were saying was legitimate and truthful.

After having a few days to think about it, I’ve concluded that Raiders fans are far from blind. In fact, no fans of any team are blind, because they are fans. They aren’t writers, reporters, players, coaches, or owners.

They are fans, and the job of a fan is to remain loyal through thick and thin, no matter how the team is performing on the field.

The job of a writer is to dispel his or her opinions of the team. The job of a reporter is to inform fans of what is happening with the team. The job of a player is to win games. The job of a coach is to coach the players. The job of a owner is to keep everything in check.

The job of a fan involves none of the above. All a fan has to do is watch and enjoy the product of everything I just listed. They can cheer when their team wins, and they can cry when their team loses.

So with that being said, there is no way that a fanbase can be called “blind” for simply doing their job of being a fan.

As a writer, I made an incorrect assumption. I assumed that because of the downright awful performance of the Raiders for the past decade that fans who still remained ultra-faithful were blind, unaware of the failure that they were supporting. Seemed pretty logical, at least when I wrote it.

Well, I could not be more wrong. Calling out fans for being who they are and doing what they’re supposed to do? What an asshole, right?

So I’m apologizing again for my ignorance over the past week. I am going to do my best to rectify the damage I have done, which I recognize will not be an easy task. I have literally alienated an entire fanbase, but if I have to individually reach out to each and every Raiders fan who I have hurt, I will not hesitate to do so.

The morning of the day that I published that article, I received a long email from Shane Schilperoort, a retired police officer and longtime Raiders fan. Shane has been a member of Raider Nation since his birth in the 70s, and like most others, he vehemently disagreed with my article.

I invited Shane to write a rebuttal to the piece, and as a member of Raider Nation, tell everyone why they are not blind, if I still haven’t convinced you by now. Shane’s guest post will be published on this site on Thursday morning, and I look forward to the support he will get.

So that just about does it for me and my rant. I hope I have convinced you that I am truly sorry, and that I understand the mistakes I made, as well as the damages it caused.

I hope that Raider Nation welcomes me in, not as a diehard fan, but as someone who admires them for their spirit and loyalty. I am truly astounded by the overwhelming responses I received to these recent articles, and I deeply respect those who took the time to tell me why I was wrong (yes, even those who used inappropriate language and slurs).

If you want to keep calling me a Raider hater, go right ahead. Really, if you want to be ignorant and scoff at the emotion and heart that I poured into this piece to apologize for my mistake, be my guest.

For the rest of you, if you’ve read this far, thank you for your time and understanding.

Sincerely,

Eric He, Editor of Golden Gate Sports

Tags: Featured Oakland Raiders Open Letter Popular Raider Nation

  • Jimmy Conway

    It takes a real man to respond like you did. If and when the Raiders get back to the Super Bowl and win it, I think you need to write about how the NFL is better when the Raiders are better.

    • goldenbaysports

      I sure will write that piece when it happens. Thanks Jimmy.

  • Brian F

    Thanks for the apology. The “5 cities” article wasn’t that bad (even though I disagree with your choices.). What was bad was actually the behavior of the staff in the comments section. Whoever was handling the Goldenbaysports mod account actually resorted to mocking commenters over things like spelling errors and screen names. All the while repeating “Well, if you don’t like it, don’t read our articles.” Chris Furry wasn’t much better as he was clearly being antagonistic at times.

    As a result of the staff behavior in the comments section, the “Blind” article came across as a juvenile attempt to insult readers some more.

    I know there were plenty of commenters that acted poorly, resorting to cursing, slurs, and just outright abusive language. But the staff of this site should not be lowering themselves to that level. You guys are the professionals. The commenters are not. If you see a commenter make a slur or just post a bunch of expletives, simply delete the post. Don’t engage them and act just as poorly.

    You’re better off limiting yourself to just deleting offending comments and not posting in the comments yourself, or just outright turning off comments altogether until the staff can moderate them with more maturity and professionalism.

    • goldenbaysports

      Thank you for the advice, Brian. We made mistakes all around, and we will make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • Dirtyred

    Apology accepted

  • Freddogg

    To be a Raider fan is hard, so many haters. But that makes it more special. A winning team changes every year. When the Raiders make I
    it back to the SuperBowl it will be that more special.

  • phil s

    being a Raiders fan is not an easy thing to be, i know i have been a fan for 20+yrs. but thats what makes a real fan a real fan, staying true to your team through the good (3 rings) and the bad. but Raiders fans be proud of yourselfs for alot especially for not being a band wagon fan, they are the worst kinds of fans and there are millions of them out there. it hasnt been easy, hopefully things will change for the better soon stay true and dont worry about what eric says this dude gets paid to talk trash. maybe his apology is real probably not, it is what it is. stay real Raider fans and all fans of teams that are down on there luck, our time will come again.

  • Kenneth Adams

    I appreciate the apology And I accept it. You are not the only ones who bash us. There are others especially the NFL Network when ever they talk about the Raiders it is always something negative. I’ll be giving them a piece of my mind also. But thank you once again.

    • sten swarty

      I’m part of the nation as well. It’ll be a great day when we return to glory and all these haters get pissed for being whooped on by the silver and black. It’s funny how we have the worst attendance when we suck but a great attendance when we’re winning. It shows who the real loyal fans are, and who jumps on the band wagon. I’ve been going twice a season since I was 16 and received by Drivers License. That’s almost 10 years of loyalty from me, and ohhh boy was it a hard 10 years so far. I’ll see you in the bay come October/November Raider Nation!!!!

  • J.r. Lopez

    HANG THEM…! j/k.. Maybe the City of OAKLAND doesn’t Deserve The RAIDERS.. If They’re not DOING WHAT THE HAVE TO, To Keep THE RAIDERS THERE WITH NO NEW PLANS FOR A Building.. Oaklands go Be LOSING ALL THE PRO TEAMS! As A BayArea RAIDER FAN IT SUCKS.. WE are RAIDER NATION NO MATTER WERE THEY PLAY We’re DIE HARD…

  • Dirtyred

    Raider fans don Raider gear through the good and bad years…..proudly. You always sense our presence, no matter what. I swear there were no NE fans before they began winning. You didn’t know they existed. My point is that Raider fans have a pride, that in my opinion has not only endured these down years, but thrived with the anger of poor decisions and losing. More intent with getting up stronger after every year that we have been down. No matter how upset we were with management and coaching and underachieving players, Raider fans still wear the Silver and Black proudly!

  • holy roller

    nice.

  • Anthony Rosales Sr.

    Psssh..! The damage is done, you should have known better…. RN4L!

  • sten swarty

    It’s hard to be a Raider fan and if you get that then you’re an ok person to me. Takes a big person to say they’re wrong even though there was some very valid points. I’ve been a part of the Raider Nation since birth. All the people I associate with like other teams (they jump on band wagons frequently), and they aren’t into sports as much as I. One thing is for sure, they consistently tell me how bad my favorite team is, consistently make fun of games, consistently make fun of how many penalty records the Raiders break, and consistently bring their garbage talk to the table. I still stay loyal, and like all Raider Nation I try to remember the golden years. If one can try to understand the whole NFL nation makes fun of us Raider fans, and by publishing those articles just made our day that much more depressing(also fueled the Raider haters).

  • Eugene Yamamoto

    Ok, so you sound like you are starting to understand this Raider nation. I read your article on being blind and read all the comments by my Raider brothers. I thought your article was so out of whack and most of their comments were so dead on that I didn’t want to give your article more attention than it deserved by leaving a further comment. It seemed like you were just trying to stir us up. I will tell you one thing, this nation shares such a strong common bond that wherever I am in the bay area wearing raider markings I am safe, have good fun and conversations with my raider brothers and sisters (total strangers). We are not blind to the faults and flaws of our team but, like family, we continue to support them. If you want to gain our support get us some good insight into our team so we have more knowledge about them (e.g. who are the well respected vocal leaders on this team, why did Amy Trask really quit, what you observe at the OTAs since we don’t even get the one day observation, etc). You don’t need to right crap that raises controversy or criticizes us, our stadium or the Raiders in order to get read. The performance on the field will speak for itself. Just give us some interesting insight on our team and your articles will be read and appreciated.

    • goldenbaysports

      Thank you for the feedback Eugene. We will do our best to give you the insight and analysis you deserve.

  • Matthew

    I’ve been mocked and scoffed at many times while wearing my Raider gear, but you know what? I will always bleed Silver and Black and am a proud member of RAIDER NATION!! RNFL!!! JUST WIN BABY!!!

  • Chris Kelley

    Thanks for the apology. If only ESPN cough… Berman… would do the same. I have always tried to refrain from foul language, but instead battle with logic. Sorry you got blasted, but at least now you know it isn’t wise to poke a hornets nest unless you want to get stung.

  • Erik Ve

    I have been a diehard Raider fan since i was born in the 70s. As a kid 4-5 yrs the first memories i had of the Raiders was Al Davis and his personality and what he stood for and did it his way. I loved that. Being a Raider is more than just football to me. Its a way of life every day. Of course i loved the players they had and colors but it was Al and the attitude i fell in love with. He did it his way and WON. This inspires me till this day. I own a couple of businesses and when i need inspiration i look at some of his historical quotes. Of course i would like to win again but i will ALWAYS be a Raider. I live in AZ and am a seas tick holder sect 103. Everyhome game i am there.

  • Erik Ve

    So everytime i hear or read someone discounting my team, YEAH i take offense to that as its more than football to me.

  • Phyllis Lynn

    Well again you are wrong, even in your apology. We were well on the road to recovery, with a couple of .500 seasons, in 2010 and 2011. We had two tragedies strike in the same year. One, Al Davis, the guiding light of the Raiders passed away. Then, just when he started becoming the QB everyone thought he could be, Jason Campbell was injured. Even with dragging a QB off the couch and Hue Jackson micro -managing the offense, and leaving the defense under the hapless guidance of Chuck Bresnahan, we struggled through a dismal 2nd half and maintained that .500. Had hue had more of a hand on the defense, and left the offense to Saunders, we may have even pulled a winning record. Remember – in 2011 the SB champs had only ONE MORE win than my team. If you can’t see that last season , 2012, was lost due to (1) an ill-fitting ZBS for the offense and (2) a decimated defense, then you still have learned nothing. Can you name another team that had to sign players to fill spots on their secondary ? In at least one game, we had only one defensive starter in the back field, and he was playing out of position. Apology not accepted.

  • Phil Mokate

    Fan since I was seven in 75 and now you have learned the true meaning of loyal Raider Nation fans. Keeping things on a positive piece to our Nation will never lead you astray. Apology accepted.

    • goldenbaysports

      Thanks Phil

  • Lamont Brown

    It’s all good. Just glad you finally understand. Keep writing articles no matter what, if anything they will bring us Fans together to do what we do best……Stick together and watch each others back in the name of The Nation, The only Nation, RAIDER Nation.
    @RaiderMob

    • goldenbaysports

      Will do, thanks Lamont

  • Mortis

    The contrition and apology may or may not be sincere, but taking the
    time to publicly apologize, even if just for the sake of civility, is
    rare these days – it is even more rare when it is the media talking about
    the Raiders. Apology accepted.

  • Jermaine Miller

    I think some good ol’fashion hazing is appropriate for this situation. .I’m thinkin…..dress up in full raider cheer gear and post that pic…lol

  • Raider Nation Down Under

    Apology accepted.
    The comment about our (RAIDER NATION) fan base not being world wide really got my back up.
    I am a die hard raiders fan from Australia and travel to your great country every year to watch my beloved raiders play a home (IN THE BLACK HOLE OF COURSE) and a away game.
    Now you know why I took offence to the comment that RAIDER NATION IS NOT WORLD WIDE!
    RADR4LF

  • Defcon151

    Thanks its hard to be a Raiders fan every year we get our hopes up that we will win again and every season since the last SB even back to 2001 its a heart breaking season again.

  • Scott

    Don’t beat yourself up too badly, Eric. I enjoy reading the articles from Golden Gate. You and your staff choose interesting topics, and your publication generally lacks the type-o’s and horrendous grammar that most others that write about the Raiders. Just Blog Baby is nearly unreadable with the mispellings and poor grammar, and Silver and Black only posts a handful of articles per week. I enjoy finding no less than one article per day here at Golden Gate. I appreciate that and the quality of the writing. Thanks, and keep your chin up!

    • goldenbaysports

      Thanks Scott! Glad you enjoy our site.

  • Bob Yost

    Eric-
    As a lifelong Raider fan I was appalled by not only the the tone & topic of the above mentioned articles, but especially by the replies you posted defending your stance. It looked to me that your main goal was to alienate Raider fans everywhere, for nothing more than being loyal to the team we love, Raider fans don’t buy, much less wear, ANY other team’s gear, nor do they root for any other team when the Raiders aren’t winning. Raider fans are just that: RAIDER FANS. This is true win or lose, rain or shine, which, as I was taught growing up is the hallmark of a TRUE fan of any team: loyalty. Ironically, it is exactly what most fans haven’t got even a tiny percentage of when compared to the fans the RAIDERS.
    I constantly see other team’s fans bandwagon jumping when their team isn’t doing well,… but Raider fans?!! NEVER!! We are front runners, but only when the Raiders are in front, that , to my mind, is a quality to be applauded,… but never ridiculed.
    That said, I would like to sincerely thank you for realizing, and admitting you were wrong, & most importantly, admit it publicly, & then pledge to make it right. That was pretty manly for you step up like that & because you had the balls to do so, while I might not agree with you at times, I have a newfound respect for you that I didn’t have before this. Props to you!!