There are two sides to every story. And usually what people will tell you is the truth often lies in between. That certainly appears to be the case with regard to everything we are hearing coming from Mark Davis and the City of Oakland en route to the team gaining approval from the league to relocate to Las Vegas.
In recent days, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf laid out what appeared from the outside to be viable plans for a stadium in Oakland.
The NFL says there were still obstacles to the plan, but at this stage it may not have mattered one way or the other. Mark Davis wasn’t listening, and according to Schaaf, Davis and the Raiders unwillingness to come back to the table this past year was a contributing factor in any issues the Oakland plan still had. A point she reiterated in a last minute, hand delivered letter to NFL owners Monday morning.
A couple hours later, immediately following the owners vote to approve the Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, Mark Davis told his side of the tale on how and why he refused to deal with Schaaf and the City of Oakland over the past year, saying it started around this time last year when the league owners were voting on which project, and thereby which teams, would be allowed to relocate to Los Angeles.
“I believe it turned when during the LA part where before the vote for Los Angeles. Oakland had a chance to come in and make a presentation to the league and they came in with a five-page piece of paper that had nothing to do with anything and they claimed that they would wait for us to lose the vote and come back and they’d have all the leverage,” Davis explained.
“We lost the vote, we came back to Oakland, we negotiated a one-year lease with two years of options and talked about getting together and talking about a long term [deal]. A week later I got a call from the county board of supervisors telling me ‘Mark, I’m sorry but the lease that we just negotiated, the three years of leases, are not going to be valid and we’re going to raise the rent three times on you’. At that point, we ended up signing that lease anyway but then decided we had to start looking elsewhere to see if we could find a long term solution.”
There are parts of this which are known to be true. The rent was raised, we know that. Though it was raised from an incredibly friendly $925k per year to a less friendly $3.5 million. And the Raiders raised ticket prices this season, presumably to cover the extra cost.
Davis told this same story last October in an interview with USA Today. Almost verbatim. He added at that time that what Oakland did “showed disrespect to the Raider organization and maybe just a little bit of false leverage on their part,” which sounds like perhaps the two sides were making decisions based on bad blood, with neither side feeling like the other was negotiating in good faith.
You just wish at some point the people involved in all these decisions would stop and consider the fans they leave behind and the communities they stomp on in the process.