Mark Davis was at the league owners meetings in Charlotte North Carolina Tuesday and he stopped to speak with the media where he made one of the more 'WTF' statements that has been uttered in the entire conversation surrounding the Raiders attempts to find a new stadium. Those efforts are currently focused on trying to gain support and financing for a potential move to Las Vegas.
"It has the potential to be a really exciting market," said Davis of Las Vegas. "It's a new market. It's got the potential to be a really exciting market. It's one of the places that the Raider fans in Northern California would get upset a little bit when we talk about going to Los Angeles and the LA fans get a little ticked off at the fans in Northern California fighting, so it seems like Las Vegas is a neutral site that everybody's kind of bought into. It will unite the Raider Nation more than divide it, so I'm excited about it."
Trying to wrap one's head around that statement can be tough. So, basically, he's saying that since Oakland fans didn't want the team to move to LA and LA fans are mad at fans in Oakland for wanting the team to stay, a move to Las Vegas will in some way satisfy everyone?
That makes absolutely zero sense that I can figure.
Granted there has been a level of bickering between Raiders fans in Oakland and away from Oakland that is like nothing I've seen. Oakland fans are angry at the prospect of their team being ripped from them for a second time. Many fans in LA have been rubbing salt in the wound, but surely they understand that feeling as they too saw the Raiders come to town only to leave 13 years later. And most fans who are in neither city don't have a strong feeling one way or the other.
Moving the Raiders to Vegas is akin to telling two kids fighting over a toy that neither of them can have it.
At least if the move was to LA, it's in the same state. It's a shorter trip from Oakland to LA than from Oakland to Vegas.
For LA fans to get to Vegas it's not much different than it is to Oakland (and it's considerably worse if you're driving to Vegas on Friday or coming back on Sunday). And, honestly, there isn't a person out there who would choose the driving experience up I-15 to Vegas over I-5 through the Central Valley.
Outside of finally getting a new stadium, the only quasi positive that would result from a move to Vegas is simply closure on an issue that has dragged out far too long. And that would be accomplished no matter where the team goes and especially if they stay put.
Honestly, the closest Mark Davis is going to get to this weird concept of ‘uniting the Raider Nation' is to get a stadium deal done in Oakland (if only it were that simple). Everyone who is a fan now would remain so. Fans in Oakland won't get their hearts ripped out again, and any fans in LA will either remain so or start rooting for the Rams (and who really cares about those people anyway?). And then the bickering will stop.
I think Mark Davis understands this. He can't be that delusional. But with Oakland sitting on its hands and Vegas opening its arms, rhetoric and spin is the name of the game.
This is about a new stadium and nothing else. All team relocations alienate fans in the previous home city who sunk their heart and soul into a franchise that turned their back on them. Many of those fans would be lost, while some new fans would be generated in a city of people excited to get its first professional sports team.
In the end, Davis knows the Raiders will still have fans all over as many of the current fans will remain regardless of where the team plays. He's banking on it. He may have to.