Raiders Saga: Las Vegas, Lawsuits and Cartels, Oh My
It was announced Wednesday that the Raiders will host one of five international games in 2019, but where that game will be is up in the air because, as of now, the Raiders themselves have no clue where they will be playing next season.
However, we do know where the team will be in 2020 and Las Vegas is surely no Oakland. It’s that looming move that has the city of Oakland pissed off and seeking legal recourse in the form of a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, which basically calls out the team and the National Football League for “cartel”-like practices. The team’s move will cost the city $200 million in prior investment (on the backs of taxpayers) and an obnoxious amount in lost revenue, according to Yahoo! Sports. The lawsuit requests compensation for all that dough – but it notably does not ask that the Raiders be required to stick around.
The team will be hard pressed to pay up now that they’ve shelled out $370 million to the NFL, just for the blessing to relocate the team. That shady practice adds salt to the wound already inflicted with the team’s decision to head to Las Vegas for a shiny new stadium, leaving behind hordes of dedicated and disappointed fans.
“The NFL relocation payment scheme is an improper bribe that the NFL receives for allowing relocations and to pit cities against each other,” City Council member Rebecca Kaplan told the East Bay Times. “This is a wrongful system and they should not be allowed to keep those bribes.”
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) December 12, 2018
Up until now, it was thought the team would lease the property through at least 2019, but team owner Mark Davis threatened to pull out early if the city filed a lawsuit. It is unclear as to whether Davis will make good on his threat, but he did tell ESPN that the suit was “meritless and malicious.” He previously told the same network that he wanted to stay in Oakland.
“I absolutely want to play in Oakland. We have a completed lease sitting with the city council, that all they have to do is agree to it and we’re here next year,” Davis said.
Despite his public warm-ish feelings about staying around, a lot of fans and followers of this saga are convinced that Davis never had any loyalty to the city.
“Oakland never had a chance. As soon as Al Davis died, probably a week after, from people I know from the inside, Mark Davis was talking to Roger Goodell about going to Los Angeles with his dad’s body still warm in the ground,” “Bauce,” a member of the fan group “Forever Oakland” told ABC7.
Al Davis has a permanent place in the hearts of many Oakland residents – his son not only neglected to step into those shoes but seems bent on burning those shoes in a big middle-finger bonfire. In the saga of the Raiders (long) departure (again), the younger and lesser Davis shares the villain role with the NFL, and while the city may be taking it up the financial rear, it’s the fans that will lose the most.
This story is still in progress, because it seems the Raiders saga will never die.