Derek Carr has emerged as arguably the best young quarterback in the NFL. If building a team from scratch, it’s hard to find a quarterback under 25 years old with more promise or production.
In only his third season in the league, Carr has transformed the Raiders from a laughingstock to a formidable opponent. The Raiders lost the Super Bowl in 2002-03, and then missed the playoffs in thirteen consecutive seasons, until Carr broke the drought last year.
Carr had the Raiders in contention for the top seed in the AFC, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second-to-last game of the season. Despite Carr’s impressive work on the field, Carr has drawn criticism off the field. Even though he plays quarterback, Carr has had to backpedal on statements like a cornerback.
Carr quickly learned that even innocuous, well-intentioned tweets can lead to a social media firestorm. In February, Carr tweeted:
“Saw that a 7 year old is collecting recyclables so he can pay for college…has made 10k. Get off your tail and go work hard for what you want.”
Twitter had a field day. A myriad of tweets criticized Carr for endorsing child labor, and questioned the veracity of his tweet all together.
After the deluge of negative tweets, Carr backtracked:
“Point is…dream + hard work = chance at accomplishment…not saying kids should literally work.”
Carr’s latest misstep revolved around the news of the Oakland Raiders relocating to Las Vegas. Losing the local team is a huge psychic blow for an avid sports fan. It can literally leave fans depressed.
Recently the San Diego Chargers finalized plans to move the team to Los Angeles. When news broke, Chargers fans shouted down owner Alex Spanos on his way to the airport, and took to the streets to burn team memorabilia.
Carr seemed oblivious to this palpable fan pain when he stated,
“This is just another thing that we’re just going to deal with together. We’re not going to split up like you’ve seen other cities do. We’re not going to do things like that. For the ones that do, I don’t really believe that they’re true Raider fans.”
Questioning the loyalty of diehard Raiders fans, who now will have to endure their beloved team leaving Oakland for the second time in franchise history, comes off as a tone-deaf move.
From The Mercury News:
“I don’t think he’s really out here judging the true fan worthiness of those who have supported the team. But his words were his words and he’ll have to own them.”
Overall, it’s never a good idea for anybody — players, management, fellow fans — to judge anybody’s status as a “true fan.”
Carr took to twitter to backtrack once again:
“Just in case I was misunderstood…I love ALL Raider fans, wherever they are from…”
Carr is an excellent quarterback and a good citizen. Barring injury, he will be a franchise player for the Raiders for the next decade, whether they play in Oakland, in Las Vegas, or on the moon.
However, Carr has a bit more work to do if he endeavors to be the true ambassador the Raiders need.