Odds & Ends-Volume 227

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I hope everyone is having a great Veteran’s Day weekend. We begin this edition of Odds & Ends with the mess that is the Oakland Raiders and their continued futility and dysfunction.

Their latest loss,a 20-6 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers at home on Sunday, dropped them to 1-8 on the season and puts them in the running for the top overall choice in the 2019 NFL Draft.ChargersRaiders.jpg

It’s no secret that the team has planned their futility with shipping top flight talent like Khalil Mack away as well as trading Amari Cooper to Dallas earlier this month and releasing Bruce Irvin last week. Irvin has since been signed by Atlanta and exclaimed “I’m free! I’m free!” upon joining the Falcons on the first day of practice.

Now current players are letting their frustration be known,even in front of reporters in the locker room as The Mercury News’ Raiders beat writer Matt Schneidman tweeted:

I wonder if that was Jordy Nelson who said that. (More on that in a minute).

It’s no secret that this hasn’t been a good year for the Raiders. A lot of that you can pin on the coach not being as good as advertised, a lot of it can be pinned on an ownership group who is busy packing things up and getting ready to move to a new house in a new state. Make no mistake about it,this team is tanking and doing everything they can to get rid of anyone who is an Oakland Raider. They want to make a fresh start in Las Vegas and in doing so are cutting ties with this current squad any which way they can,and it makes absolutely no sense.

Beyond that, the veterans who are frustrated with the direction of the team have every right to be. They were probably thinking that when Gruden was hired that things would turn around and the team could get back to the postseason. Instead, they’re heading in the opposite direction with no real plan in place for a winning culture that any of us can see anytime soon.

MarkDavis2.jpgWhich brings me to owner Mark Davis,who spoke with ESPN following Sunday’s loss to the Chargers.

In the conversation,he accepted blame for the team’s 1-8 record and talked about where the team might play in 2019,among other topics.

“I always look in the mirror, and the buck stops with me,” Davis said during the 45-minute sitdown at a waterfront restaurant in Jack London Square. “Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven’t been able to build a 22-man roster. We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”

If I can jump in real quick, an NFL roster has 53 players,not 22. But we’ll move on.
In talking about where the team will play next season while they await the completion of their new home in Las Vegas, he expressed that he would like to play in Oakland despite a lawsuit being threatened by the city of Oakland and cities like San Diego being floated as a temporary home.

“I personally want to play in Oakland,” he said. “I absolutely want to play in Oakland. We have a completed lease sitting with the city council, that all they have to do is agree to it and we’re here next year.”

Regarding the lawsuit and how he feels about the fans: “Emotionally, I would say, why would I give them $3 (million), $4 (million), $5 million in rent that they’re going to turn around and use to sue me? But, at the same time, if they’ll have us, I can’t turn on the fans. I can’t do it. And this is terrible negotiating I’m doing now. I’m going to get killed. But that’s just the way I am. But, if in fact it does get ugly, and can’t be bridged, we do have options.”

Really,Mark? You can’t turn on the fans? Aren’t you already doing that by leaving for Las Vegas? I’m not stunned he would say something like this,I just think it’s a profoundly dumb statement to make. Hell,he’s not even showing loyalty to the players who are there right now. He,along with Reggie McKenzie and his overpaid,overrated coach are shipping people out faster than Amazon Prime is shipping out packages.

I honestly hope that if Oakland tells him to get the hell out of town that other cities take a pass on him and his team as well. San Diego,it’s not worth the one season of him using you. Don’t do it!

Keeping with the Oakland Raiders and Jordy Nelson,who I forgot was still on the team, is reportedly set to retire.JordyNelsonOAK.jpg

Nelson,33,a 10-year veteran, signed with Oakland after being cut from the Packers last offseason. In his time with the Raiders this year,he caught 25 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns and is far from a focal point in Jon Gruden’s offense.

He left Sunday’s game with a quad injury,but did return later in the game. He didn’t have any catches and was targeted only once.

If this is truly it for Nelson,it’s been a very good career with 8,201 yards and 72 touchdowns and being a great part of a Packers offense for so many years and one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets. I honestly hope he doesn’t retire and maybe gets released and picked up by a contender because I think he might have something left for a team that uses him correctly.

Finally this week, a tragic shooting happened at a bar in Thousand Oaks,Calif.,a city about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles that left 12 people dead in yet another senseless act of gun violence that leave many of us wondering when this is going to stop an when or if we as a society will ever do something about it.

This weekend,both Los Angeles NBA teams chose to honor the victims by wearing black T-shirts that said “Enough!” on the front and the names of the victims on the back. The Clippers did so on Saturday when they hosted the Milwaukee Bucks,who accepted the home team’s invitation to wear them as well.

Enough.pngThe Lakers and Hawks followed suit the next day during their own match-up at the Staples Center.

“It’s a national thing,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “It’s a tough time right now with the mass shootings, specifically being here, the most recent. It’s unfortunate. It’s sad. We can talk about gun control, you can talk about how to deal with everything that’s going on, but I think really, the shirt is just trying to solidify that there’s a presence in the NBA that’s thoughtful about the people that lost their lives, and the people that were present there, and just the community in Southern California, what everybody’s going through and trying to deal with this. So I think it’s a great statement.”

The coach on the other side of the match-up on Sunday echoed Pierce’s statement.

“I think when you have kids and you’re concerned about where our world is going sometimes, it’s nice to see people trying to stand up and bring awareness to things and not just let it slide into yesterday’s news,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he is supportive of the players wearing the shirts to not only raise awareness for an end to senseless gun violence in our land,but also to pay tribute to the lives lost in a preventable tragedy.

“As I’ve always said, our players aren’t just ballplayers, they’re citizens,” Silver told ESPN. “They have strong feelings about what’s happening in society and they react to them. I think this was something that was a groundswell within the league. It came from the players and it spread by word of mouth from one team to another. It obviously began here in California and other teams around the league supported them,” Silver continued. “Again, I support our players’ desire to speak out on issues that are important to them and important to society.”

LeBron James was quick to praise Silver for allowing them as players to speak on social issues that they feel are important.

“For us to have a commissioner like we have to even allow us to do something like this, number one, that’s amazing,” James said. “That’s why we all love Adam. I saw the Clippers do it as well in their last home game, just recognizing a very troubling time at that point and time. But also recognizing that we, I don’t want to say understand, but we’re here for the families in spirit and in health and that’s important.”

Before we close, I’d like to extend my well wishes for everyone who has been affected by the fires in our great state. I know of many people who have lost just about everything and imagining what they’re going through is difficult. But in times of tragedy,there’s always something we can do to help and if you are able to do so,I urge you to donate money or clothes or whatever you can to help the great people of our state who have lost everything,even loved ones. I myself and others in my family have donated clothes and shoes and it feels good to know that we’re helping in some small way. If there’s anything else I can do to help any of you,please don’t hesitate to ask. Paradise

In a time where we can be so volatile towards one another,and I have been guilty of it myself,let’s make no mistake about that, we do have to remember that in the end we’re all people of the same society and regardless of how we feel about each other in term’s of politcal differences,there’s so much we can do for one another as humans.

That’s all for this edition of Odds & Ends,have a great week,everyone!

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