Thursday, we reported here on S&BP the comments that were made by Trey Wingo on his weekday ESPN program NFL Live in which he suggested the Raiders had orchestrated the rally at Raiders headquarters on Tuesday to greet Charles Woodson on his visit with the team.
Within hours of the story's release, the producers of Bay Area radio station 95.7 The Game had caught wind of the fan reaction to Wingo's comments and scheduled Wingo to appear on the show.
Here is the transcript of that conversation:
Mark Kreidler: Your reaction to the venom coming from Raiders fans. You said you're baffled by the reaction?
Trey Wingo: Yeah, I literally had no idea what was going on until John, your producer -- who I knew from his days back in St Louis -- called me and told me about it, so it took me by complete surprise.
Kreidler: You've probably tracked this down by now but there was the Silver & Black Pride blog yesterday wrote this said ‘News of the rally staged at Raiders headquarters to greet Charles Woodson upon his arrival to meet with the team has been widely reported. Every news outlet recognized Raider fans as mobilizing to show Woodson they wanted him back but not Trey Wingo and ESPN.' Again I'm just reading here from Silver & Black Pride. You're quoted here as saying ‘Raiders put out a social media campaign to have all the fans show up at the facility welcoming him back' end quote. Raider fans see this as you saying the fans didn't do it, it was staged by the team and fans are feeling like you're disrespecting their efforts.
Wingo: Well, let me just say this; they're absolutely right, it was done by the fans, and I meant to say Raider fans, I just didn't say ‘fans'. So, I totally get it, but I gotta be honest with you, the fact that they felt slighted I don't quite understand, but that's fine, I didn't say it the right way. I left out that one word. But we were not trying to slight anybody. The reason we brought it up is we thought it was awesome that they mobilized and did this, that was the whole point of even having it as part of the show. The topic was, in our hot read segment, it was just me and Adam (Schefter) on what we call the debate set there and the debate was ‘where's he gonna go? Is Charles Woodson gonna go to Denver or is he gonna go back to the Raiders' and Adam was saying ‘Probably if he's looking for another ring, it's probably a better bet, with the team the Broncos have, to go to Denver, but a lot of sentiment is going for the idea of going back to the Raiders where, not only was he a first round pick in the draft but also he knows Reggie McKenzie from their days together up in Green Bay' and I said ‘yeah, that's great what they've done' and I meant to say ‘Raider fans' and it just came out ‘Raiders' and that's all it was.
Dan Dibley: I have absolutely no problem with any of that and I'm not 100% sure of why it was as big of a deal as it was.
Wingo: That makes two of us
Kreidler: I do understand, but I can understand Raider fans are ridiculed a lot and when they went and organized something organically and it sounds like someone is saying maybe the team put them up to that, I can see how they're upset. I can understand what Trey is saying, but I can understand how fans are upset.
Dibley: I guess what I'm saying is, and Trey I'm not putting words in your mouth, that sometimes you generalize and say Raiders and you mean all of the Raiders, not the Raiders front office...
Wingo: No, absolutely, Raider ‘Nation'
Dibley: Do you think [the rally] made any difference?
Wingo: I think it did actually. And what I have to think once the Raiders front office slash team, not Raiders slash Nation slash fans, found out about it I'm sure they were like ‘This is the greatest thing in the world' you know. I absolutely think it meant something and I think that it shows the passion that Raiders fans have. We've said this a million times on NFL Live and nobody ever wants to believe us; The NFL's a better product when the Raiders are relevant. They are. It's a better deal. Because of the history of that franchise and the history that it brings with the three championships. It's been a rough go since Super Bowl... well, since really the AFC Championship game that year, since Super Bowl XXXVII, and the NFL is a better product coast to coast when the Raiders are relevant and recently they haven't been and it's been a real problem.
Were you surprised he chose Oakland over Denver?
Wingo: Well, a little bit but I guess the thing is what doesn't motivate him that sometimes is chasing the ring. He has the ring. He got that a couple years ago in Green Bay. I thought it would be perfect fit for him in Denver simply because obviously we saw what happened with their secondary last year in the post season and that team I think is going to be really, really good. They may not win 13 games again but I think the Broncos with the additions they've had on offense and quite frankly some of the (defense) -- even though the lost Dumervil on Defense, they're gonna be a very balanced team. So, I really thought that for a chance to go and maybe get that second ring or have the opportunity that Denver would be the best place for him but clearly he has emotional ties to the Raiders and what it was like to be there and I'm sure as a lot of people do and our own Eric Allen still to this day feel unfinished business from the tuck rule game, there's something to go back there for. So, obviously it meant something to him and I think the rally was a big part of that.
Kreidler: I just want to clarify, this piece that I'm reading from, Silver and Black Pride by Levi Damien. Another quote from you attributed to you here ‘Raiders put the full home court press on him including having fans lining up at the facility to greet him and stay there until he signed the deal. Raiders obviously pulling at his heart strings'. But some see that as you saying Raiders orchestrated the whole thing, you're saying that's not at all what you're saying, right Trey?
Wingo: No, no exactly. And even if they did, that's not a bad thing if the Raiders had done that. There's no downside to this whatsoever. We thought it was great, that's the only reason we mentioned it."
Kreidler: Well, there's a downside if you're one of the fans who - I understand what you're saying - but I understand if I'm one of the fans who organized this and I have someone saying ‘hey, we're not getting credit for this, they're saying the organization put us up to that' again I can see how some fans would feel slighted if that's how they interpreted what you were saying.
Wingo: Believe me, not my intention at all, 100%. Look, one of the things that makes the Raiders great is the passion of their fanbase. It really is. And I think that played a big part in getting him back there.