SAN DIEGO — Gary Plummer is a Raider Hater. Always has been.
"I've hated them for 32 years," Plummer said.
Plummer, the Chargers' starting middle linebacker, grew up less than 20 miles from the Raiders when their home was Oakland.
"I hated them," he said, "Just hated them."
Plummer's parents and friends rooted for the Raiders. When the Raiders and Chargers played in the 1980 AFC Championship game, more than 50 people gathered at the Plummers' to view the game.
"I was the only one cheering for the Chargers; I just hated the Raiders," Plummer said. "I used to go to their games all the time; I didn't care who they were playing--I rooted for the other team."
When he was in elementary school, Raider defensive end Ben Davidson spoke at his football banquet. Raider center Jim Otto was the guest of honor at his Pop Warner banquet. Raider guard Mickey Marvin appeared at his high school banquet.
Did Plummer get an autograph?
"Hell no," he said. "I hated the Raiders; what did I want their autograph for?
"All my friends loved the Raiders. I just didn't like their style of play. I thought they were arrogant and cocky and dirty. I just didn't like their style."
In later years, Plummer got the chance to meet Al Davis. His reaction: "I think the guy needs a new wardrobe.
"You have to admire his simple-mindedness and tunnel vision, his obsession with winning. But the thing I don't like about him and the Raiders in general is just the arrogance, and the attitude that no matter what 'we're the best.' To me, that's putting everybody else down."
The Raiders won regularly when they were in Oakland, but the "Commitment to Excellence" was not so evident in Los Angeles.
"Even when they were down, though, they were known for being the big, bad Raiders. But I think that reputation is something self-anointed," Plummer said. "More bark than bite. Their big thing is intimidation, but speaking for myself, I've never seen it work."
The Raiders on Sunday play the Chargers in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. The rivalry continues; the significance of the game adds fire to passions that already run deep.
"The longer you play this game the more even-tempered you play it," Plummer said, "but this is one of those rare occasions when it's different . . . tempers might flare a little easier in this particular game.
"When you can play with the Raiders people start to take notice. People are already starting to take notice, but beat the Raiders, and it will be even more so."