Oakland Raiders: Why Fanbase Is Most Misunderstood in Sports

Oakland Raiders fans have a bad rep. 

Saying the words “Oakland Raiders fan” conjures up images of a shady character.  A gangbanger. Someone parents wouldn’t want their kids around. 

Legendary writer Hunter S. Thompson once said, "The massive Raider Nation is beyond doubt the sleaziest and rudest and most sinister mob of thugs and wackos ever assembled." 

The fact of the matter is, though, that Raiders fans are misunderstood. 

The first reason for this is their ties to gang culture.  The Raiders logo is forever associated with NWA and the origins of gangsta rap.  Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and Eazy-E were the forefathers of gangsta rap and, if you couldn’t tell, gangsta rap is associated with gangs, violence, and crime.  Watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Straight Outta LA if you don’t understand what I’m talking about. 

So maybe the image of the stereotypical Raiders fan being a South Central LA gang member isn’t too far off, but the truth is that the guy repping Raiders gear to look cool isn’t truly a member of Raider Nation.  I’m not saying that gang members can’t be fans of the Raiders.  I’m not discriminating against gang members here but I am saying that the Raiders' strong association with gang culture has painted a picture of Raiders fans that is grossly inaccurate. 

Raiders fans are passionate.  Raiders fans embody the rebellious spirit of a pirate (the Raiders logo, just in case you didn’t know).  As the poem that is blared over the loudspeakers before Raiders home games, “The Autumn Wind,” says, 

“The Autumn wind is a Raider

Pillaging just for fun

He'll knock you 'round and upside down

And laugh when he's conquered and won.” 

That poem is know...

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