Two days before April is not the time to talk football: Opening Day, seasonal allergies, Little League, March Madness, maybe even the return of bird-poo hopscotch. (Try and walk around Burba Lake if you don’t know what I mean.)
Even for football nerds like me, draft talk doesn’t start until after Monday’s National Championship game and every baseball team has gone through its rotation at least once.
But that changed this week when the NFL owners approved the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.
There are plenty of things about this move that will be good for the league and the business of sports, which is why the owners approved the move with a 31-1 vote.
Vegas doesn’t just mark the league’s expansion into a new city. It will also allow the Raiders and NFL to merge the economic forces of tourism and America’s largest sport.
People were going to Vegas for fun. Now, for at least eight weeks out of the year, scores of people from throughout the country will be flocking to Vegas for fun and a chance to watch their favorite team play.
More than that, this opens the door to legalized sports gambling and the windfall of cash that will come with it for the league, businesses and local economies. See daily fantasy sports and legalized marijuana.
“But Chad, you’re Muslim. Isn’t gambling illegal?”
Yes, gambling is illegal by Islamic law, which is why I don’t gamble anymore. There are also plenty of moral arguments against legalized sports gambling, but let’s be real. Morals and religious beliefs are often subjective.
Same with the legal laws currently barring legalized sports gambling, which have proven to be as weak and ineffective as Prohibition.
As you may note, those laws didn’t stop Pete Rose, Boston College athletes, NBA referee Tim Donaghy and countless others from attacking the integrity of the game through betting.
Not to mention, professional sports moving to Vegas and the opening of legalized sports gambling are not subjective. They are objective in that they are happening with one objective in mind: Making money.
As a Libertarian, with capitalist leanings, I’m fine with that, and therefore the move.
As a sports fan, however, the Raiders moving to Vegas is even worse than when the Raiders moved to L.A. in 1982, which was bogue.
The Raiders in Vegas is as wrong as grape jelly or Celine Dion covering an AC/DC song during one of her shows on The Strip. In fact, the Vegas Raiders will be nothing but another show in a town full of shows and a gimmick in a town of false hopes and illusions.
They will be the NFL’s version of an Elvis impersonator, and like impersonators, The Vegas Raiders may wear the silver and black, the pirate on their helmets, and play with the “Just Win Baby” attitude spawned by its muse.
But they will still always be a copy of the original — a bunch of multimillionaires stuffed in plastic jumpsuits because the capital of Raider Nation has been and always will be in Oakland.
If you have comments on this or anything to do with sports, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @CTJibber.