Earlier this week, in an article for the New York Times, Houston Texans' owner Bob McNair seemed to say what everyone has been thinking for a while about the Raiders' relocation efforts - that the NFL never really wanted the Raiders in Los Angeles.
‘‘Oakland gets nothing,'' Robert McNair said. ‘‘Al [Davis] used to sue us all the time.''
This statement on its face, would suggest that the league holds a grudge against the Raiders. Or at least that would appear to be the suggestion based on the long prevailing thought that the Raiders and the NFL have a tense relationship - a mindset that former Raiders CEO Amy Trask said hasn't been the case for quite some time.
"It causes me to bristle, if you will, from what I find to be disingenuous, is the suggestion that issues relating to the Raiders location, or really any issues between the Raiders and the league are still determined by or rooted in issues that involved Al," Trask told me Wednesday.
Bob McNair himself joined the NFL ranks as an owner in 2002. At that time, the Raiders had several active disputes with the league, so you can understand how his perception of things would be a bit skewed, just as it may have been for many league owners who date back to the early 80s when Al fought the NFL over his first move to Los Angeles.
That was two commissioners ago and many of the league owners who were in place then are no longer in place.
Trask, who stepped down as Raiders' CEO in 2012, doesn't see the resentment by the league against the Raiders that many claim still exists to this day.
"It's been almost ten years since that litigation was resolved," Trask continued. "When we resolved all those disputes, dozens of owners reached out to me and expressed tremendous appreciation for the fact that we resolved everything. And among the owners that reached out to me were owners that had been in the league for it seemed like an eternity. Owners that are perceived and believed and are actually the oldest and most tenured and respected owners contacted me and thanked me for finding a way to fully and finally resolve those disputes. And after resolving them, the relationship was terrific. Once those disputes were resolved, people put them in the rear view, they were in the past."
McNair is not among those long tenured owners of whom Trask references. He was also on the LA committee and known for being a strong advocate for the Raiders and Chargers shared stadium plans in Carson. It's for that reason that Trask thinks perhaps MaNair's words were taken out of context, saying "It makes no sense" that he would be against the Raiders move to LA.
However, McNair is known to be a good friend of Chargers owner Dean Spanos and therefore McNair was in favor of any move that involved the Chargers.
Another interesting fact is in the first owners' vote between the Carson plan and the revised Inglewood project that now included the Chargers with the Rams, the owners couldn't get approval until they went to a secret ballot. That means at least one owner, and perhaps more than one, changed their vote. With the Chargers still involved, it seems a pretty strong likelihood McNair was one of those who flip flopped which ultimately pushed the Raiders out.
It's important to note that Trask said her response to all this was not directed at McNair specifically, but to persistent "chitter chatter" that has been occurring over the past year since the Raiders and Chargers joined forces to go against Stan Kroenke and the Rams' Inglewood plans.
There has been a feeling that the NFL didn't want the Raiders in Los Angeles and still held a grudge. That's what the New York Times grabbed onto, taking McNair's words as proof of that. Which as Trask tells it, simply is not the case.
It's important to note that should the Chargers opt not to join the Rams in Inglewood, the Raiders would then be allowed to take their place in the deal. The Chargers get the first shot at it, which it seems to me is more about the league not wanting to screw the Chargers over than having it out for the Raiders for some long since dead bad blood.