Editor’s note: Every Wednesday, as part of her “Vegas Nation: Takeaways” podcast, producer/videographer Heidi Fang talks to a Raiders player or personality. This week Fang talks to high-profile Raiders fans Wayne Mabry, the Violator, and Cody Wilson, Raider Cody. This has been edited for length.
Heidi Fang: I’m joined by Wayne Mabry. I wanted to bring you on today to get your take on no fans in Allegiant Stadium this season for Raiders games.
Violator/Wayne Mabry: The Raider Nation, we’ve gone through so much over the 40-plus years that I’ve been following this team. This fan base … we have found ways to overcome and endure a lot of ups and downs.
The sad part is that we have a beautiful eighth wonder of the world stadium — I’m calling it the Death Star — that we can’t christen like we were hoping to do. So that anticipation is going to have another year to build. So that grand, black ribbon-cutting should be off the charts.”
HF: So when you had heard about the no-fan statement, what was your initial reaction?
It wasn’t a shock to me in lieu of what we’re dealing with and how people are sort of taking it for granted. This is a silent killer and it’s unseen, almost like a gas. We don’t know where it’s going and coming, but this is real. This is unlike anything I’ve ever dealt with in my lifetime. And the seriousness of it, it’s an equal opportunity destroyer: rich, poor, young, and old and everything in between.
So we’ve got nowhere to go, but we have to lean on each other to support each other through these times. And, you know, God willing, we’ll all meet up at the Death Star in 2021. That’s my hope.
HF: Hey, Cody, I know you were supposed to come to Las Vegas for the NFL draft, but that fell through. How did that feel?
Raider Cody/Cody Wilson: This year was supposed to be our year. So when we had the chance to go to Vegas for the draft, it felt like Vegas, ‘Hey, this is our home.’ So not getting that, it sucked. No other way I can say it.
And then we were just banking on the home opener, thinking, ‘Hey, by then, everything should be fine.’ Well, it’s not. This last month, I’ve kind of just known. They’re not going to let fans in there. So we’re just going to have to sit and wait and be ready for next year.
HF: Raiders owner Mark Davis says he’s not going to go to games now. What did you think of that?
CW: I loved it. I absolutely loved it. To make that stand and just be like, Hey, I’m with the fans. What hit home with me was whenever they first started voting on tarping off the first six or seven rows. And he was the only owner that said no, I want to put fans in those seats. I mean, he could have made money off those seats. So for him to stand with the fans on that and be the only owner that did that, it’s just like, amazing.
Recently it seems he’s always being compared to Al Davis, like he’ll never be able to fill Al Davis’s shoes. but he’s got his own shoes now that he’s filling. It’s different from Al, but we’re loving it just as much.
HF: So if you had to predict the Raiders’ record at the end of the year, what would it be?
CW: See now, this is where you get me, because I can — if we went game by game, I’d sit there and be like, ‘Yeah, the Raiders can win that. Yeah, the Raiders can win that one, too.’ We’d be 16-0 if we went through these games. But I think we got 10-plus wins. Yeah, I think 10-plus.
I think we could have been borderline 10 wins last year had we stayed healthy. So that’s going to be the X-factor. If you can tell me that 95 percent of our guys are going to be healthy at the end of the season, then I’m going to say, yeah, we got 10-plus wins. We’ll be in the playoffs for sure.
Heidi Fang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download the Vegas Nation podcasts three times a week at www.LVRJ.com/podcasts. More Raiders: Follow at vegasnation.com and @VegasNation on Twitter.