Randy was right to quit on the Raiders
By Jemele Hill

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Normally, I don't condone athletes giving up. But in Randy Moss' case, he was right to quit on the Oakland Raiders.

Yes, of course he was. He is a professional athlete making millions of dollars. He was right to accept that money and not play. Randy Moss is God.

I bring this up because what happened with the Raiders continues to dog Moss' legacy, just as Kobe Bryant's seemingly self-imposed no-show against Phoenix in a deciding playoff game continues to indict him as a selfish player. Moss should be the No. 2 story of Super Bowl XLII. (Tom Brady is No. 1, of course.) But despite an impressive display of sincerity at Tuesday's media day, some people are still having trouble buying the new, wiser Randy Moss.

Gee, I wonder why.

The 2007 Pats were the highest-scoring team in NFL history. The 2006 Raiders scored the fewest points in the NFL (10.6 per game). Randy Moss was a member of both teams, so it's no wonder that he's all smiles right now.

No shit.

To many people, Moss is proof that sports karma doesn't always work. Despite giving a lackluster effort for much of his two years in Oakland, the stars aligned to send Moss to the best franchise of the millennium, which has put him one victory away from unprecedented history.

Stars aligned? The fates intervened? Or perhaps Moss was such an embarrassment to the most embarrassing franchise in football that they traded him for practically nothing? No? Alright then, the stars. Definitely the stars.

“I had to stay positive, but in the back of my mind, I didn't know if I would get here or not,” Moss said.

Moss then added, “But I never know where I'm going 'cause I'm usually stoned.”

I understand why Moss makes sports purists feel nauseated. He'd have probably stayed in the MVP conversation a bit longer had his Oakland days been further behind him. Fans will accept contract disputes, unproductive superstars, even lengthy championship droughts. But quitting on your team? That's always deemed unacceptable.

It's time to rethink what is acceptable, sports fans. And quitting mid-season should always be acceptable. That's why everyone loves Rich Rodriguez and Bobby Petrino so much. They aspired to quit on their teams. In a way, they were trendsetters. Heroes, really.

Yet, on rare occasions, there are exceptions. And Moss' situation with Oakland is one of them. Because the Raiders quit on Moss just as much as he quit on them.

They stopped paying him?

There's no doubt Moss has been a different player for the Patriots.

Yes, he's been a winning player.

Moss always has been emotional, and it's no secret he has struggled with handling losing with dignity, as evidenced by his tantrums over the years. “I approached the game, when I was young, very angry,” Moss said. “Not at anyone in particular, just the game of football.”

Randy was mad at the entire game. I know what that's like. My five year grudge against Canasta got particularly ugly shortly after my twelfth birthday.

When Moss fled to Oakland from Minnesota, there were high expectations, since the Raiders were only two seasons removed from playing in the Super Bowl and Moss was considered a great talent. But frustrating injuries limited Moss' effectiveness. And bad coaching, questionable play-calling, working alongside fellow malcontents such as Warren Sapp and Jerry Porter, and failures at quarterback?all this amounted to a Molotov cocktail for Moss, which resulted in the perennial All-Pro becoming disinterested and loathed.

For millions of dollars a year, Moss couldn't bring himself to get interested in his work. For that kind of money, you can beat me up with aluminum trash can lids for hours on end and I'd be all like, “Those are the most interesting lids I've ever seen.”

“I'm a football player,” Moss said. “That's what I do. Things really weren't going like I expected them to go. Not as an individual, but as a team. We had Derrick Burgess, Warren Sapp, a lot of guys that have names throughout this league. Expectations were high. Football wasn't a main priority around there.”

“We smoked a lot of weed,” added Randy.

How Moss handled things certainly was immature. But can anyone honestly blame him for feeling the way he did? People who hate their jobs don't give their all?that's a simple reality. And usually the biggest reason people hate their jobs is because they aren't being inspired or developed.

Actually, the reason most people hate their jobs is because they aren't being paid enough, but whatever.

Looking at the debacle the Raiders franchise has become?and the wheels were in motion before Moss arrived?is it unreasonable Moss wouldn't put it all on the line for that dysfunctional franchise? Just look at the problems the Raiders are having now with head coach Lane Kiffin, who seems to be lashing out the same way Moss did.

Look everyone. The organization has problems therefore nobody should try. Works for me.

A gross amount of money and an excess of athletic ability doesn't prohibit athletes from feeling the same frustrations regular people feel. Moss was no different than the 9-to-5 guy who can't stand his idiotic boss.

Umm? yes he was. To the tune of about 3 million a year, in fact.

When it comes to Moss' career with the Raiders, there's plenty of blame to go around.

Yes, and a lot of it goes to Randy.

Years ago, when Barry Sanders retired from the Detroit Lions via fax machine, a large number of Lions fans were angry at what they perceived to be a betrayal. Sanders never shorted his effort on the field, though he did pout at times. But he left the Lions soon after receiving an $11 million signing bonus and the biggest contract of his career. Many fans felt he should have stuck it out. But Sanders later admitted he retired as a healthy 30-year-old because he felt the Lions would never win. And to think, Sanders thought that way about the Lions before the Matt Millen era was in full swing.

There's a difference here. Sanders quit football and quit collecting money. Moss kept cashing checks.

Sanders knew he was too good to play for an organization that bad. He might have handled his situation more maturely than Moss, but ultimately they both realized their talent was far too great to be controlled by people who didn't know how to win.

The thing is Coach, I would play hard for you, but well, my talent outmatches your brains. What can I say? I'm a team player.

That's why, when Moss said Tuesday he wanted to retire as a Patriot, I believed him. Call Moss a front-runner, but he essentially wants what all great players want: to play for an organization dedicated not only to winning, but to fostering his ability. Just ask Archie Manning if he would rather be known for nobly sticking it out with the struggling New Orleans Saints, or finishing as a champion.

Yes, ask Archie Manning if he would rather have his sense of loyalty or a championship. He would much rather have a championship because championships are forever and loyalty only lasts one year. Oh, and character is meaningless, kids. And while we're here children, if your little league team sucks, feel free to quit on it. A better team will come around later to foster your abilities, whatever the fuck that means.

Of course, Moss should be held accountable for his actions in Oakland (and Minnesota). But it shouldn't define his career, or be the reason people root against him in Sunday's Super Bowl. Moss has atoned for his behavior in Oakland, and it's obvious the Raiders had bigger problems than him.

This paragraph is the only one thus far that has made sense.

Now, if you want to root against Moss because of his recent alleged domestic violence incident, or his other brushes with the law, that's fine. But getting indignant about Moss quitting on Oakland, given the reputation of that franchise, is like being upset if someone is unfaithful to Britney Spears.

No. No no no no. Brittney Spears is just one crazy bitch. The Oakland Raiders are fifty plus humans trying to win together. They are a motherhumping professional team.

Besides, Moss has made far more careers than he has destroyed. What was Daunte Culpepper without Moss? What about Brian Billick, who built a reputation for being an offensive genius because he coached Moss in Minnesota? Pre-Moss, people still had their doubts about whether Tom Brady was a great quarterback or just the product of a great system. No one says that anymore. With Moss, Brady became an MVP, and is in line to be regarded as the best quarterback of all time.

What? the? fuck..? Moss is good. He's made teammates look good. Therefore, he deserves to take vacations during the season and turn his back on his teammates. Seems fair.

I'd say sports karma is working just fine.

If Jemele Hill believes half the shit she wrote in this, I'd say sports journalism is working just like a rotting corpse. The fact that we live in a world where people can quit on their team midseason and then get defended for their actions by media representatives says to me that we as a society have given up on respecting anyone for anything.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write a piece that explains how Hitler was kind of in the right because the Jews quit on him.

Christ on a fucking stick.


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