The Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas as soon as 2019. The news, which broke on Monday, was a brutal gut punch to fans in the Bay Area. A long relationship is ending not with a clean breakup but an awkward purgatory period.
The next two years are going to be weird and there’s different schools of thought as to how scorned Raiders fans should respond. Should they remain supportive and attend games or should they boycott?
Consider Draymond Green part of the latter camp.
Every fan, of course, is entitled to react in the way he or she sees fit. What’s done is done. The Raiders are leaving if the remaining home games in Oakland are sold out, if they’re half-empty, or if no one shows up. With that in mind, I say fans should savor what they can get out of the Raiders-in-Oakland experience.
Doing what Green suggests won’t change anything. And maybe it doesn’t have to. Maybe that’s not the point. People should understand that, though, before denying themselves of an experience they enjoy.
The NFL, like every other professional sports league, is a behemoth beholden to one thing above all: the almighty dollar. No one at any level of power cares about the values and loyalty of any particular fan. Fans are potential dollars, not human beings with feelings.
It’s early, but I am somewhat heartened to see precious few Raiders fans have compounded their misery by denying themselves the opportunity to see their favorite team play in person. There hasn’t been an overwhelming rush to take Mark Davis up on his offer to refund season tickets.
Sports fans need to face the hard reality that they don’t have any power. They need to understand that they’ll eventually be done wrong in one way or another by ownership. It sucks, but that is the reality.
The Raiders are fleeing to the desert no matter what happens over these next two years. Aggrieved fans can make their own decisions. To me, though, boycotting games just lets ownership win again.