Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas: Not such a great idea

Las Vegas is, in many ways, a great city to live and work in, but it's got an image problem that's about to get a lot worse.  We're about to have a team of traitors move to Vegas.

Vegas is vibrant, with a lot of action – there are always exciting shows to see and great restaurants to eat at, and friends and relatives seem to want to come visit. All good things.  And, except for the Strip, living here is like living in Tampa.  The big difference is that in Tampa, the 7-11s sell lottery tickets; here in Vegas, they have slot machines.  Otherwise, it's the same stucco-and-tile roofs, the same palm trees, and the same multicultural community that (for the most part) seems to work.  There are even a lot of churches here in town, many (like mine) with aggressive outreach programs for the homeless and others in trouble.  However, you can forget the oft-quoted stat that Vegas has more churches per capita than anywhere else – the people who came up with that stat included wedding chapels (including the drive-through chapels where "Elvis" will perform the service.  Still, in many ways, it's a great place to live.

But then there is the soon to arrive NFL professional football team, the Raiders, who are currently in Oakland (again).  Adding an NFL team was seen by local boosters as a big win for the city, which is kicking in $750 million to build the team a stadium.  But the city chose a nest of traitors.

Early in this "take a knee" controversy, a majority of the Raiders decided to either sit or take a knee during the National Anthem.  Raiders have continued to show their disrespect for their country, and last Sunday, player Marshawn Lynch – who is black, not Hispanic – crossed a line.  In a game played in Mexico City, Lynch took a knee for the American national anthem yet stood boldly for the Mexican national anthem.  Worse, the Raiders' owners have done nothing – not one damned thing – to penalize this man who so obviously hates his country for demeaning the "brand" of the Raiders.  This is despite the fact that, if there is a clearer example of how this "take a knee" movement, and the players who support it, is about disrespecting America (regardless of what they so nobly claim), I can't find it.

All of this means that thousands of proud Americans who live in Vegas really no longer want our city to roll out the welcome mat for this nest of vipers.  There are petitions being signed and meetings being held, but nobody who understands Vegas is holding his breath.  There is money to be made in professional football, and in Vegas, whenever there is money to be made, local protests go nowhere.  But the Raiders' owners may just be surprised to find that their seats aren't being sold – not to locals, and especially not to vets, their families and friends, and those who salute those who served and scorn those who spit on the flag.

Ned Barnett has lived and worked in Las Vegas for more than a quarter-century.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications, a Vegas-based communications firm.

Las Vegas is, in many ways, a great city to live and work in, but it's got an image problem that's about to get a lot worse.  We're about to have a team of traitors move to Vegas.

Vegas is vibrant, with a lot of action – there are always exciting shows to see and great restaurants to eat at, and friends and relatives seem to want to come visit. All good things.  And, except for the Strip, living here is like living in Tampa.  The big difference is that in Tampa, the 7-11s sell lottery tickets; here in Vegas, they have slot machines.  Otherwise, it's the same stucco-and-tile roofs, the same palm trees, and the same multicultural community that (for the most part) seems to work.  There are even a lot of churches here in town, many (like mine) with aggressive outreach programs for the homeless and others in trouble.  However, you can forget the oft-quoted stat that Vegas has more churches per capita than anywhere else – the people who came up with that stat included wedding chapels (including the drive-through chapels where "Elvis" will perform the service.  Still, in many ways, it's a great place to live.

But then there is the soon to arrive NFL professional football team, the Raiders, who are currently in Oakland (again).  Adding an NFL team was seen by local boosters as a big win for the city, which is kicking in $750 million to build the team a stadium.  But the city chose a nest of traitors.

Early in this "take a knee" controversy, a majority of the Raiders decided to either sit or take a knee during the National Anthem.  Raiders have continued to show their disrespect for their country, and last Sunday, player Marshawn Lynch – who is black, not Hispanic – crossed a line.  In a game played in Mexico City, Lynch took a knee for the American national anthem yet stood boldly for the Mexican national anthem.  Worse, the Raiders' owners have done nothing – not one damned thing – to penalize this man who so obviously hates his country for demeaning the "brand" of the Raiders.  This is despite the fact that, if there is a clearer example of how this "take a knee" movement, and the players who support it, is about disrespecting America (regardless of what they so nobly claim), I can't find it.

All of this means that thousands of proud Americans who live in Vegas really no longer want our city to roll out the welcome mat for this nest of vipers.  There are petitions being signed and meetings being held, but nobody who understands Vegas is holding his breath.  There is money to be made in professional football, and in Vegas, whenever there is money to be made, local protests go nowhere.  But the Raiders' owners may just be surprised to find that their seats aren't being sold – not to locals, and especially not to vets, their families and friends, and those who salute those who served and scorn those who spit on the flag.

Ned Barnett has lived and worked in Las Vegas for more than a quarter-century.  He owns Barnett Marketing Communications, a Vegas-based communications firm.