That motto stems much from the atmosphere the late great Raiders owner Al Davis created around his beloved organization. Mr. Davis desired to keep in touch with his players; reunite with his players; take care of his players - and it’s a value that many of the Raiders’ all-time greats have firmly embraced.
Like many Raiders fans, 28-year-old Carlos Alva was born with Silver & Black blood flowing through his body. Unfortunately, Alva’s body now also has a rare form of cancer known as soft tissue Ewing Sarcoma. The illness has taken over his body and he has become too weak to be able to go through any more chemotherapy.
Alva’s family wanted to bring their loved one some extra joy to his hospital bed, so they reached out.
Bill Leen, one of Alva’s family members, made a couple of phone calls to some friends and word of Alva’s story quickly resonated in the hearts of much of Raider Nation. Being the family that it is, Raider Nation wanted to help their “brother.”
Within just hours, Alva received a phone call from former Raiders head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden who wanted to offer some words of encouragement.
“You fight, man. You fight and you trust these people and you do what they tell you to do and you fight, you’re going to be fine,” Gruden said on the phone call. “You’re going to beat this, just like the Raiders do.”
But it wasn’t just Coach Gruden on the line.
Former Raiders offensive lineman Bruce Wilkerson took a break from his farming to join in on the phone call to offer some uplifting words.
“Carlos, that’s the whole key: believe and know that anything can be accomplished,” Wilkerson said over the phone.
But the love from Raider Nation didn’t end there. Before long, Raiders well-known fan “Violator” was on the call with Alva.
Current Raiders even took some time out of their offseason to reach out to Alva. Raiders wide receiver Brice Butler made the call on Monday.
And the love still wasn’t done. Through the network that is the Raider Nation, the next day Alva got to speak to his favorite Raider: Marcel Reece.
“As soon as I heard (about your sickness), I was praying for you,” the Pro Bowl fullback told his fan. “If you need anything, or you need to text someone or just need to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to contact me.”
Leen and other family members are grateful for Reece’s phone call.
“He cares, and he not only cares, he cares about the fanbase,” Leen said about Reece’s phone call. “The guy loves being a Raider. It means a lot to see a guy that would stop and make that phone call… those are the kind of people that we need on this team.”
Unable to be assisted by organizations such as the Raiders and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, it’s truly remarkable that this has all been made possible the through Raider Nation banding together and networking to help a “family” member.
“Honestly, there’s nothing special about me and there’s nothing special about a lot of these people. But, we’re a family,” Leen said about Raider Nation. “And when you know people you can call, and great things happen in Raider Nation. It meant a lot to me to be able to make a call to see my brothers in the Silver & Black do great things. To see the fans, get people like Coach Gruden to call this kid… within hours...It’s just awesome to see this entire fanbase stand up for this kid.”
The family says that wide receiver Mervyn Fernandez and “Mr. Raider” himself, Tim Brown, have also reached out to Alva to offer their own words of encouragement.
You can see videos of the phone calls in their entirety below: