OAKLAND—A press conference was held at Oakland City Hall on Monday, June 12, where attorneys and members of fan groups discussed recent efforts locals have made to keep the Oakland Raiders in their city of origin, along with potential deliberations for the future.
The Raiders received permission from the NFL in March to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. The league declined plans to construct a new stadium in the team’s home city.
The coalition, led by Raymond Bobbitt (founder of the fan group We Stand With Oakland), comprised of faith leaders, fan organizations, business operators, and residents brought in New York-based sports lawyers James Quinn and Eric Hochstadt to discuss possible strategies, including negotiations and legal options, for the campaign. Both Quinn and Hochstadt have experience debating with league owners.
In addition to the NFL, Quinn has served as a counselor and representative for players associations in Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), as well as Major League Soccer. He is also responsible for free agency in sports.
“It’s a strange situation,” Quinn contended of the team’s anticipated move. “It’s even stranger when you realize that the NFL owners are working together over the last few years get paid themselves by approving various relocations.
“It has actually become profitable for the NFL to move teams; there is something seriously wrong with that. It is not the way that you treat fans who have been loyal for five or six decades,” said Quinn.
Hochstadt argued that the city of Oakland, the sixth largest media market, deserves to have a professional football team as many citizens’ livelihood depends on it. The proposal for a new stadium, he asserted, was a “viable option” that did not differ from the private fundings for the construction of new facilities for the San Francisco 49ers (Levi’s Stadium) and Golden State Warriors (Chase Center).
“It seems to us that Mark Davis and NFL owners agreed to tear this team from the local community in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in relocation fees that they just might divide amongst themselves, not shared with the players,” Hochstadt stated. The Raiders’ new home in Las Vegas is worth $1.9 billion.
After the move was confirmed, Griz Jones, the founder of the campaign’s leading fan group Forever Oakland, was queried by reporters about his thoughts.
“The thought of that, to us, was a crime,” Jones asserted. “Oakland is the heart of California. Anywhere around the world, when you think of Oakland, you think of the Raiders. When you think of the Raiders, you think of Oakland.”
A GoFundMe page has been created for the campaign by Russell Rivera, a member of We Stand With Oakland.