Oakland Raiders: Why It’s Unfair To Call Their Fanbase “Thugs”


Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders fan Pablo Navarro points at the camera before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders fans have been called many disparaging names over the years, including “fat,” “ugly,” “delusional,” “poor,” “obnoxious,” “sweaty,” and “dumb.”

They are now also commonly referred to as “thugs,” which might be the most ignorant insult of all.

A “thug” is defined as a “brutal ruffian or assassin,” according to the Merrian-Webster Dictionary.  This definition may apply to the hard-knock rappers who don Raider jerseys in their music videos, but not the folks who fill out the O.Co Coliseum on a Sunday fun day accompanied by their loving families. It makes you wonder, have these judgmental individuals ever attended an NFL game in Oakland?

The perception must be caused by something irrational.  After all, there are outliers in every NFL fanbase who do physical harm to others, yet their reputation as a whole never suffers like the Raider Nation’s does.

Then you realize the answer is right in front of you.  It’s easy to notice on a television broadcast there are a countless number of ethnic minorities at a Raiders game (in expensive seats, no less). Much more so than an event in Seattle or Green Bay, for example.  Many Americans (and especially those who still live in segregated communities) have a subconscious tendency to stereotype and fear what they aren’t familiar with, so this would fit the bill.

“They—They’re forming a gang in the stands!” quips a couch quarterback every Raiders home game.

Is this a scientifically-backed conclusion?  No, but most Raiders fans know deep in their heart this is the reason the nation is popularly scrutinized on a national level.

Critics argue (and subsequently generalize) that Oakland is a statistically high hub for violent crime, but narrow-mindedness fails once again to acknowledge that the club’s fanbase stretches far and wide, concentrating from the Sacramento Valley to Riverside County.  Are you telling me a majority of the Silver and Black supporters within this span commit assault and battery?

And not every Raider fan can speak perfect English, but that doesn’t mean they’ll resort to force. Similar to illegal immigrants, the less-fluent are frequently perceived as subordinate because they don’t appear as cookie-cut Americans.

Point in case: don’t portray the acts of a few drunken morons on a diverse nation of a million strong and counting. It’s the same as the new, disturbing widespread league reputation that many NFL players are uneducated delinquents—it simply isn’t true.

In the meantime, the Raider Nation warmly invites you to visit a game this fall, so you can see for yourself how easy it is to survive four quarters and escape unharmed.

Is a little reasoning too much to ask?