The Raiders have an image, and they know it. To be honest, they cultivated it for a long time, and successfully.
But as a new team prepares to move to a new city in a few years, they want to make sure the people of Las Vegas know they aren’t some marauding band of felons, descending upon their city.
As noted by Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders have the longest streak in the NFL of not having a player arrested (going back to 2014).
And coupled with the programs they run for players throughout the year, they are taking pride in being something other than what they were perceived to be for years.
“The people that know the Raiders in Las Vegas, they know the Oakland Raiders, the Los Angeles Raiders, through parents, uncles and aunts,” Raiders director of player engagement Lamonte Winston said. “There was a certain persona. Well, that’s totally changed. . . . These are the new Raiders where we have educational platforms, where our guys are going back to school, where our guys are establishing businesses. We want young people in Las Vegas, student-athletes, to know that character counts with us. It really is important to us.
“Before we put the pads on and start knocking heads, (for) the men who put on those helmets, character counts. Professionalism counts. Academics count. Respect counts. That’s what we want to bring to the community.”
At the moment, it’s all on the upswing for the Raiders, with an ascending team on the field, full of likable stars who seem just plain nice. That’s not always what the Raiders have sold, but this seems to work for them now.