Sports

The Raiders are acting like the Raiders again. Thank you, Antonio Brown

The Greatness of the Raiders is back, and we don’t mean they’re winners.

We’re talking NFL grievances, illegal helmets, cryotherapeautic frostbite, training camp AWOL, retirement-threatening rebels, all wrapped up into a single silo named Antonio Tavaris Brown The First.

For the love of Al Davis, it’s about time the Raiders became the Raiders again.

We’re not talking about the Super Bowl throwback days. Those vintage flashbacks are 35 years old. Let it go, people.

We want the Raiders who were litigious, and diva, and rowdy, and always in relocation mode.

These are the Raiders we love to watch, in the same way we love to catch reruns of Maury Povich lie detector reveals. It’s hideous, not entirely believable, but how can you not watch?

Tell me you didn’t click on last week’s headline that placed the name “Antonio Brown” in juxtaposition to the phrases “frostbite” and “cryotherapy.” Tell us you didn’t immediately Google cryotherapy because it sounds like a made-up word.

Right then and there, we all became fascinated with the Raiders again, whether they’re your team or not. You watched them on “Hard Knocks” last week, just to see how long it would take before someone silver and blacked out.

Good night, this beats watching cartoons.

The question isn’t whether or not you believe Antonio Brown really ice-burned his feet getting treatment for bad feet. The question is how can you not believe a story this wild when the Raiders are involved?

We’re talking about an All-Pro wide receiver who is so diva, Randy Moss just called to say, man, this guy’s difficult. Brown showed up at Raiders training camp in a hot air balloon, because you bet your bottom casino chip he did.

Reports say he left camp with said bad feet and hadn’t been heard from in days, because of course that’s what happened. Then, he filed a grievance against the NFL for not allowing him to play with a 10-year-old helmet that is no longer certified as safe.

Did you get that? He threatened to retire from the NFL because he can’t wear an unsafe helmet.

We’re starting to think that helmet hasn’t been safe for some time.

Man, we miss this stuff. It hasn’t been this way in more than 10 years, when JaMarcus Russell had an underactive thyroid, Lane Kiffin got overhead projectors back on the market, and Tom Cable brought jawbreakers to the staff break room.

Derek Carr ruined the Raiders we loved to mock. Our born-again friend went to Oakland and made gentlemanly winners out of the local motley crew. He played with manners. He taught Michael Crabtree – who was Antonio Brown before Antonio Brown was ever Antonio Brown – how to be a team player.

He even made a decent team out of the bunch. If we wanted to watch normal winners, we’d move to Houston or something.

No more. The Raiders are the Raiders again, whether it’s owner Mark Davis cuss-bombing the management team of the Oakland A’s in a recent interview, or moving the team to Las Vegas because what else is he going to do with all those moving boxes he saved from the last move?

Someone, take the eye patch off the team logo. We’ve got to see this show with both eyes.

David White is a former Fresno Bee staff writer and NFL beat writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, now a pastor and Sunday sports columnist for The Bee: bydw@sbcglobal.net, @bydavidwhite

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