There was a world title fight in Oakland this weekend between Andre Ward and Allan Green, but there weren’t any Raiders around to take in the action. Jerry McDonald was sitting ring side and reports there was a very familiar former Raider at the bout: JaMarcus Russel. Not surprisingly, he was late.
He was wearing a University of Alabama red leather jacket and a new red Alabama hat. He was wearing sunglasses. Maybe Russell thought nobody would recognize him, given that he went to LSU and that sunglasses aren’t necessary in an arena.
Boy, was he wrong.
The boos started growing as an usher helped Russell find his seats. A Raiders fans wearing a crisp, new Rolando McClain jersey (No. 55), stood up and began taunting Russell, asking him for his money back on his season tickets. He’ll have to get in line, given that Al Davis wants $9.55 million of money he paid out to Russell as part of a grievance.
Russell attended the Nov. 21 fight between Ward and Mikkel Kessler, and although he got booed there as well, he stuck around and posed with sympathetic fans.
After Ward completed his 12-round shutout of Green, Russell heard the hoots again as he departed, with many fans standing and waving their hands in derision. There were a handful, however, that greeted Russell warmly, and one that even gave him a hug.
It was at the same time surreal and predictable.
Surreal that Russell would show up in Oakland at all. Surely he knows he’s well atop the list as the most unpopular ex-Raider.
Predictable that when Russell did get to the fight, it was two-thirds over.
Nothing this guy does can be explained or for that matter surprising.
If you are Russell, would you go within 100 miles of Oakland? If you did, would you try to camouflage yourself in Alabama gear? I’m sure the folks over at LSU — one of the few places he should still be seen favorably — love that he is showing off his Crimson Tide pride.
I was watching the Ward-Green fight Saturday night and wouldn’t you know, Showtime failed to include Russell in their montage of notable stars in the arena. Though even if they did still consider him a star, showing up right before the fight ended could have been a big part of the reason he was ignored by the cameras.