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Rob Rivera, co-founder of Black Gap part of Raiders followers, dies of COVID-19

LAS VEGAS — Rob Rivera, co-founder of the enduring Black Gap part of Raiders followers when the crew known as Oakland dwelling, died this week from issues of COVID-19.

“Unhappy day for Raider Nation,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden advised ESPN in a textual content. “He was The Authentic. Most significantly, a terrific man who beloved life.”

Rivera, who was in his 50s, was impressed to create the part after seeing the Cleveland Browns’ Dawg Pound on tv in 1994.

“However let’s do it on rabies,” Rivera recalled for ESPN’s E-60 in 2019.

The Black Gap was within the southern finish zone of the Oakland Coliseum and has now taken root within the southern finish zone of Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.

“He’s arguably a very powerful fan in Raiders historical past, constructing and rising the Black Gap in Oakland,” mentioned radio host John Tournour, aka J.T. The Brick, who will host a tribute present in Rivera’s honor Wednesday. “There’s plenty of guys who placed on a fancy dress, and no slight to them, however he was so happy with the Black Gap. He lived it.

“The unhappy factor is he by no means received an opportunity to come back to Vegas to see a sport. He had plans to come back out later this season and sit in my seats. However he handed away due to this terrible pandemic, which ought to get everybody’s consideration. If it might probably occur to Black Gap Rob, it might probably occur to anybody.”

The Black Gap, probably the most iconic fan sections within the NFL that referred to itself as soccer’s most infamous followers, has 28 chapters throughout the nation, in addition to outposts in Mexico, Australia and Germany.

Rivera advised ESPN the Black Gap was a “fan phenomenon” and took off with followers portray their faces and dressing up in costumes.

“We have needed to battle a detrimental stereotype of the Raider Nation,” Rivera mentioned. “If ever you wished the most effective soccer fan expertise, step into the Black Gap, as a result of that is what we’ll offer you.”

The Raiders, who known as Oakland dwelling from 1960 by 1981 earlier than transferring to Los Angeles from 1982 by 1994, returned to Oakland in 1995. A handful of superfans have made the trek from the Bay Space to Las Vegas, the place the crew moved in 2020. Followers weren’t allowed within the stadium final season due to pandemic laws, and solely vaccinated followers are allowed in now.

“His imaginative and prescient was that at some point, with the blimp overhead trying down, the whole stadium can be the Black Gap, however the heartbeat can be Part 105,” mentioned Mark Acasio, who additionally goes by the costumed superfan persona “Gorilla Rilla” on sport day and who has made the transition to Las Vegas.

“He offered me his private seat to sit down within the Black Gap again in 1996 and he took me beneath his wing to be part of all of it, and it grew from there,” Acasio mentioned. “With the reboot and restart in Las Vegas, his legacy and his aloha spirit will proceed to develop.”

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