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Raiders : If There Is a Strike, They Will Play Follow the Leader

September 17, 1987|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

At strike deadline minus five days, the mood on a Raider team famed for providing union leadership is something short of seething.

The Raiders boast two NFL Players Assn. executive committee members (Brian Holloway and James Lofton). A Raider alumnus, Gene Upshaw, is NFLPA director. When Upshaw visited the team in Oxnard last month, Lester Hayes yelled to him, "No strike, baby!"

Said Vann McElroy Wednesday: "I think there are guys who don't want to strike, me included. But at the same time, if the group votes to strike, yeah, I think everybody will go along.

"Are we as angry (as they were before the 1982 seven-week strike)? I wouldn't say we're as angry. I think in '82, the guys were saying, 'Yeah, we'll go on strike.' I think this year is a little decision-process.

"It hasn't affected us. We had a team meeting before the (Green Bay) game and said, the heck with all this stuff. It's real, it's reality but we've got a game to win, we've got a season to play and as long as we're playing, let's win football games. I think that's the feeling of the football team." To emphasize the point, in the absence of a successor to union slogans like "No Freedom, No Football" and "We Are the Game," kicker Chris Bahr devised one for this season, wrote it down, taped it to a yard marker and marched around with it.

It said: "Save the player-reps."

Raider Notes The Raiders placed rookie fullback Steve Smith, who has a strained right knee, on injured reserve and re-signed tailback Ethan Horton. Also, starter Frank Hawkins has torn triceps muscles in both arms, but is expected to at least play on special teams. If he can't go more than that, Steve Strachan will take his place in the backfield.

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