Admit, Raider Nation.
You still love your Raiders, no matter how much they viva to Las Vegas.
You pretended to not care who they drafted this past week, but couldn’t help but peek from behind the eye patch when their turn came up in the first round.
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You swore to go silent mode once and for all when their move to Nevada was announced in March, but couldn’t help but eat Skittles when the Raiders brought Beast Mode out of retirement (See Lynch, Marshawn) last week.
Oakland or not, you are a Raiders fan. Aside from possible parole violations, there is nothing wrong with that.
You can’t quit them now. After all you’ve been through?
All you Old Man Jenkins in the bunch stuck with them when they bolted Oakland in the ’80s, and you middle-agers stayed true when they bolted from Los Angeles in the ’90s.
None of you went cold turkey on Raider Al when he was taking the franchise to the grave with him in the ’00s.
You were loyal when they dumped coach Jon Gruden into Tampa’s bay. You stayed faithful when they bet the ranch on quarterback JaMarcus Russell. You endured Tom Walsh calling plays from a bed and breakfast, Tom Cable knocking out the help staff, and Lane Kiffin going saboteur.
It’s OK to still like the Raiders on their way out the door. They don’t belong to Las Vegas; they belong to you.
Twenty-plus years without a Super Bowl championship, and you kept coming back like a boomerang that lacked self-esteem or better options.
You endured 13 years of un-winning football before they broke through this past season. Are you really going to bail now when they’re finally good again?
Because, the Raiders are better than good. They’re going to be great.
Third-year quarterback Derek Carr is healthy and good to go. Lynch is rested and ready to roll. The defense just got upgraded in the NFL Draft, assuming their first-round pick doesn’t go to jail.
We all know you defended Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie the moment he picked Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley with the No. 24 overall pick. Accused of sexual assault earlier in the week, you went all innocent-til-proven-guilty the moment he tried on a silver-and-black cap for size.
It’s what you do best.
You defend the indefensible, watch the unwatchable, stick up for the unstickupable. You divide Earth into two factions: you’ve got your Raiders, and all others get dumped into the nearest hater drawer.
That’s OK. It’s what good fans do. Don’t stop now.
Go buy your Lynch jersey. Believe every draft pick who says they always wanted to be a Raider. Keep naming your kids after Derek Carr.
Keep hating the Donkeys from Denver and the Whiners from across the Bay. If you want to boo 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan because his father Mike will forever be Shana-Rat to you, so be it.
But, we need you Raiders fans to be Raiders fans. We love the costumes, dig the slogans and get a kick out of your arguments that always end with you calling us a Hater.
So, cheer up, and cheer on.
1. Dear Everyone who Named 49ers rookie GM John Lynch the 2017 Executive of the Year: Stop it. It’s one day of one NFL draft. Time has the final say. If senior-abusing the Chicago Bears and drafting hurt players is the new standard of excellence, no wonder they’re picking No. 2.
2. Name a sport other than football that routinely hires people with pending sexual crime or assault cases, yet the fan base doesn’t give it two yawns. Go ahead. We’ll take your answer off the air.