Raider Nation is mourning the loss of one of its most iconic members.
Rob Rivera, known as “Black Hole Rob,” died of complications from the Coronavirus.
Rivera, who was in his 50s, was one of the founders of The Black Hole behind the South end zone at the Oakland Coliseum. The section has been recreated in the Raiders’ new home, Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“Sad day for Raider Nation,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden told ESPN in a text. “He was The Original. Most importantly, a great man who loved life.”
According to a GoFundMe created to raise money for his family, Rivera entered the hospital on Aug. 20 and was placed in the ICU the following day.
Rivera and 18 other Raiders fans founded The Black Hole, which was located behind the goal post in sections 104-107 at the Coliseum in 1995. Its fans are known for their colorful costumes and rowdy behavior.
“I met Rob along with co-founder Black Hole Danny on the morning of Monday, Sept. 8, 1997, at 5:30 am while walking to the stadium for a Monday Night game vs KC,” said DJ Mike Scott, who became President of the Philadelphia Black Hole. “He was pre-tailgating on the side of the highway hours before the gates opened up to get into the parking lot. Immediately we became friends as he introduced me to many Black Hole members. Since then, I would make the trip to Oakland once or twice a year for a game and Rob would always have me over for dinner and drinks. I would soon become the President of the Philly Chapter of the Black Hole.
“In 2012, Rob and two other members of TBH would be in our wedding. Through the years, Rob and his family would become like family to my wife and me. We watched his girls grow and he saw the changes on my side of the family as well. Rob on multiple occasions would say, ‘You know, Philly Mike, if you lived here in Oakland we would see each other every weekend. I’d always respond, ‘I know, Bro, maybe one day.’ My wife and I recently moved to Vegas and before Rob got sick, I kept saying I can’t wait to take this short trip to Oakland to go see my brother. We are going to miss Rob so much and still can’t believe he is gone.”
Rivera said he drew inspiration for the Black Hole from watching the Cleveland Browns’ Dawg Pound fan section on TV during the 1990s.
The Black Hole has gone worldwide since its inception inception some 26 years ago, and now there are chapters in many states, plus countries such as Australia, Germany, and Mexico.
“He is arguably the most important fan in Raiders history, building and growing the Black Hole in Oakland,” radio host JT The Brick told Raiders fans on his show after learning of Rivera’s death. “There's a lot of guys who put on a costume, and no slight to them, but he was so proud of The Black Hole. He lived it.
“The sad thing is he never got a chance to come to Vegas to see a game. He had plans to come out later this season and sit in my seats. But he passed away because of this awful pandemic, which should get everyone’s attention. If it can happen to Black Hole Rob, it can happen to anyone.”
Rivera once said on ESPN’s E-60: “We’ve had to battle a negative stereotype of the Raider Nation. If ever you wanted the best football fan experience, step into The Black Hole, because that’s what we’ll give you.”
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