ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was the subject of some unflattering rumors on Tuesday morning. Teammates swiftly came to his defense on social media, shutting down an inflammatory, incorrect story spread by a controversial Internet radio show host married to an NFL player.
On Wednesday, the topic fell at Carr’s feet.
The host, repeating a story told by a Raiders fan on her podcast, said Carr demanded his teammates stand during the national anthem prior to a Sept. 24 game in Washington, the Sunday night contest following anti-NFL-player statements made by President Trump. The host then claimed that there was a pregame argument in the Raiders locker room over that issue, and, here's the kicker, that the Raiders offensive line intentionally allowed Derek Carr to get hit and eventually hurt.
Since we here at NBC Sports Bay Area aren’t in the business of spreading rumors, here’s a quick synopsis of what happened, according to team sources on and off the record. It was also written in large part here. The Raiders planned to stay in the locker room for the anthem -- there was a spirited discussion, with opinions from several levels of the organization, the night before -- as many other teams did in response to Trump’s comments on NFL anthem protests.
Logistics of Sunday Night Football’s unique pregame schedule took that option away. The Raiders tried to work out a different plan on the fly, and there was some disagreement on how to handle the new situation as a unit. That wasn’t resolved during the limited discussion time before an important game. That’s why you saw groups protesting in different ways. The offensive line and most Raiders defenders sat with arms locked. Others chose to kneel. Carr was among several who stood. The team’s unquestioned leader and franchise quarterback prayed during the anthem near other teammates who sat and stood. At no point did Carr tell anyone what to do.
Then the Raiders got outplayed, outschemed and outcoached by an energetic, determined Washington football club. That was it. They lost a football game they wanted to win. End of story.
Carr suffered transverse process fractures in his back the following week at Denver on a freak play where he was awkwardly wrenched to the ground and kneed in the back by a Broncos defensive lineman. Every Raiders offensive linemen immediately huddled around him, and left tackle Donald Penn looked concerned as he walked with Carr toward the sideline.
Back to present day:
This false theory was originally discussed by a non-sports radio show in Sacramento shortly after the Washington game saying the line allowed him to get hit, but it didn’t become a mainstream topic until players reacted to Tuesday’s rehashing by the aforementioned Internet radio host.
This rumor gone viral came up during Carr’s Wednesday bye-week press conference.
A reporter asked if a Bible verse he posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon – "Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything." Proverbs 13:3, NLT -- was a response to the rumor.
“I know you have to ask. That has nothing to do with what was said,” Carr said told the inquiring reporter. “I don’t give false claims any due. If you see anything (on my Twitter timeline), you see I post a lot of scriptures. You can ask anyone about the YouVersion Bible app; that was the scripture of the day and I just posted it.”
Fans immediately thought the post and story were connected.
“Everyone started saying ‘shade,’ this and all that. I’m bigger than that,” Carr said. “I don’t pay any mind to that kind of stuff because it detours. Making false claims about somebody before you know them, and about a group of guys, that has no business in our world. We’re trying to promote peace and love. I don’t think that has any place.”
Several players immediately shot down the story on Tuesday, including Penn.