What’s Raider Nation?

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Raider Nation refers to the passionate fans of the Oakland Raiders, known for dressing in black and silver, partying excessively, and traveling across the country to see their team play. The team has the best-selling logo products in the NFL, but some logos are associated with gang membership. Raider Nation may have originated with the team’s move to Los Angeles in 1982 and has been associated with the urban makeup of racial and economic populations. Some dislike Raider Nation fans for their rowdiness and unsportsmanlike behavior. The San Francisco 49ers are seen as their rivals, but most fans of both teams are just good people who enjoy sports.

Raider Nation is a term applied to very obsessive fans of the Oakland Raiders, a US soccer team belonging to the National Football League (NFL). Raider Nation doesn’t apply to casual, well-behaved fans who might catch a game once in a while. Instead it is used for the purpose of describing the legions of football fans who are known for dressing in black and silver, partying excessively before, during and after matches, and making trips across the country to see their team play when they travel.

It almost always seems the case that when the Raiders travel, hosts of Raider Nation members can be found ready to celebrate and cheer on their team. The Raiders have the best-selling numbers for team logo products like T-shirts, hats and jackets, from any NFL team. This may, in part, be because some Raiders logos are now used specifically to express gang membership. In fact, many public schools ban any clothing with Raiders logos on it.

Initially, however, the Raider Nation appears to have gotten its start when the Oakland Raiders moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982. Die-hard fans made the extra effort to get to home games in Los Angeles. The team returned to Oakland in 1995, much to the delight of its many Raider Nation fans in the Bay Area.

Some sports pundits and sociologists argue that Raider Nation was particularly associated with the urban makeup of racial and economic populations. Oakland has a particularly large number of African American citizens and also a large number of poor people. Raider Nation may have had some affinity for representatives of an oppressed and marginalized population.

In truth, however, most poor people can’t afford to attend football matches and they certainly can’t afford to travel. Most Raider Nation fans must have the wealth to get seats in the “black hole” section of the Colosseum, where the most feverish fans congregate. Additionally, Oakland’s poorer residents generally cannot afford to travel to games in other parts of the country.

Some people really dislike Raider Nation fans because they tend to be quite rowdy and can act rude or get significantly inebriated while playing games. Such intoxication generally does not translate into great behavior during games. Some also indicate that the Raiders play a very aggressive style of football that seems unsportsmanlike.
A Bay Area football fan who is not a member of Raider Nation is very likely a fan of the San Francisco 49ers. If the Raiders represent the outcasts in an urban society, some believe the 49ers tend to represent the best of the urban environment and are associated with “class.”

Both opinions, of course, ignore the fact that most Raiders and 49ers fans are just good people who enjoy sporting events. However, there seems to be a particular antipathy between many of Raider Nation and diehard 49ers fans.

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