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Oakland Raiders address NFL scandals as they prepare to represent league in London

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The Oakland Raiders are in London this week as they prepare to take on the Miami Dolphins in the first of this year's increasingly popular International Series games at Wembley stadium.

The timing of the contest however could have been better, with the showcase event coming after a fortnight of scandal and criticism that has engulfed the NFL.

With Ray Rice's suspension for domestic abuse, Adrian Peterson's alleged domestic abuse toward his child, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell coming in for intense criticism for the way the league has handled such situations the NFL is at perhaps its lowest ebb in some time.

Not the ideal backdrop for an event that is supposed to highlight all that is good about the NFL to a world that have shown in recent years a true desire to embrace it.

But, speaking today at their UK base just outside of London, players and staff of the Oakland Raiders were happy to have the opportunity to represent the NFL as it should be - whilst also having their say on the current situation engulfing the league back home.

Raiders perspective 

“Listen I don’t think it’s just an NFL issue, I think it’s a societal issue," said head coach Dennis Allen in his Wednesday press conference.

And the under pressure coach seemed to back his even more under pressure Commissioner as he continued:

"Obviously I think that’s something as a society that we have to address. The NFL can be at the forefront of that and I think the NFL really can shape a lot of values in our society and I think that’s what the commissioner is trying to do and the NFL is trying to do." 

Both the Raiders and the Dolphins will be holding the torch for the NFL when they take to the field in front of what is expected to be a packed Wembley Stadium Sunday, and Allen was under no illusions as to what that entails at this present time.

“Yeah absolutely (we have a responsibility) and whether we were playing the UK or in the US I think it’s our responsibility as players, as coaches, as NFL employees to represent the NFL the way that we should be.

That’s something that we take very seriously and we will continue to do that."

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Several of the Raiders roster also gave their views on the issues that currently dominate the NFL headlines, with rookie quarterback Derek Carr offering his own perspective:

"For me it’s not just an NFL deal it’s a world wide deal. I was brought up a certain way, I’m going to teach my son the same things that I was taught…I don’t stand for that stuff, that’s just how I feel.

"But it’s not just an NFL thing and I do believe in forgiveness also that’s how I am," Carr explained before giving his backing to the Commissioner - reaffirming his belief that Goodell is doing a "great job."

Defensive End Antonio Smith spoke more openly about how he views what has gone on:

“I don’t feel any weight on my shoulders about that. People are so quick to be judgmental in life and hide their own faults. I’m forgiving about it all man, I think everybody makes mistakes sometimes and it has nothing to do with the NFL or any job that you may have, that’s just us as humans.

“I don’t take it into account that everything that’s going on is happening (just) in the NFL. I just see it as right now the spotlight is on the NFL because right now a few people are having troubles in their life and I think that anybody can become a better person than they were yesterday.

So I don’t point a finger at them, I’m not going to jump on a bandwagon and push them down further, I’m just going to keep praying and hope they get better in whatever they do."

Wembley game

The Raiders, along with the Miami Dolphins, will be hoping to give people something else to talk about come Sunday afternoon.

And with both teams coming into the game with losing records - Oakland are 0-3, Miami 1-2 - they will also be hoping to put off field storylines to one side in the coming days as they continue to prepare for this unique contest.

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