The Oakland Raiders play on Monday Night Football tonight and what some say is the last game in Oakland. But is it? Oakland’s At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has this to say.
OAKLAND, CA – Oakland’s citywide Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has been keeping up with the news about the Raiders deliberations about where to play in 2019. In recent days, there has been news coverage about discussions of Santa Clara, San Francisco, and even London. While the Raiders prepare to play today’s home game, there has been much debate about whether or not today would be the last Raiders football game in Oakland. While the stories are sensational, Kaplan would like to provide the information and reminder that Oakland has not rejected the possibility for the Raiders to play in Oakland in 2019. Even though the NFL and the team have decided and announced that the Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas in the year after that, the team could still choose to play in Oakland in 2019 – for their final year before moving to Las Vegas.
Said Kaplan: “The Raiders do not need to make this their last game at the Oakland Coliseum. They could choose to play their final season in Oakland in 2019, before the team moves to Las Vegas. For the team to instead choose to play in a location that is harder to access, with worse traffic problems, and less well prepared to host Raiders football, is an odd choice to punish Oakland, and their fans.”
The threat to play the 2019 season elsewhere appears to be an attempt to punish or threaten Oakland, for undertaking a lawsuit against the NFL, challenging the NFL’s wrongful relocation bribe system. In deciding to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, the NFL did not conduct a full and fair evaluation or decision-making process, but they did take hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for allowing the relocation. The hundreds of millions of dollars that the NFL receives for allowing relocations are not to cover any actual costs, but instead are wrongful bribes they receive to influence their decision-making. They seek to pit the tax-payers of different cities against each other, even as all of our cities share common struggles providing for vital public needs, as the NFL billionaires try to squeeze out as much money as they can to line their own pockets all while violating their own bylaws and violating anti-trust laws.
Thus, it appears the Raiders are seeking to use their decision about where to play in 2019 to punish Oakland for challenging the misconduct of the NFL. But the issues are, and can be, separate. Oakland has not refused to allow the team to play in Oakland in 2019, despite their intention to move to Las Vegas, and an agreement for a 2019 lease can be made, separate from the issue of the NFL lawsuit.
Councilmember Kaplan wishes the team well, and continues to be open to an agreement that would allow them to play in 2019 in our Oakland location with its long history of Raiders football fandom, and location that is easy to access for fans.
Rebecca Kaplan is Oakland’s 3-Term At-Large Councilmember