— Richard Thomson (@rthomson51) September 10, 2018
Well, I think the City of Oakland can win a legal battle against the National Football League’s Raiders, and the reason for my opinion rests primarily with a comment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that the Oakland Raiders ‘bear some” of the blame for the Raiders not building a new stadium in Oakland. Here’s the Zennie62 on YouTube video where Commissioner Goodell made that comment, and at the 2016 NFL Spring League Owners Meeting in Charlotte:
Commissioner Goodell himself offered up the perspective that the Oakland Raiders deserved some of the blame for a turn-of-events that led to the team’s planned relocation to Las Vegas. That was in response to my question of why the NFL seemed to be allowing Davis to go “off the reservation”, as I put it (because at the time I knew Roger didn’t want the Raiders in Las Vegas and neither did Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank), and work behind the back of the Mayor of Oakland in the Las Vegas relocation effort. The unanswered question is what did the Raiders do, or not do? It would be a surprise if Goodell atempted to answer that question, because to do so would end any lawsuit in Oakland’s favor even before it was presented to a jury. Here’s why.
In any lawsuit there are what are called “causes of action.” Causes of action are defined in the law as “a fact or facts that enable a person to bring an action against another.” (As an FYI before starting my first company Sports Business Simulations (described in Read, Write, Web in “Failures in The Startup World” and yes, I’m proud of that!), I planned to take the LSAT to go to law school because a number City of Oakland officials including then-City Attorney John Russo said I was “already a lawyer,” “You just needed the papers,” Russo would repeat)
Defining “causes of action” is what’s missing from pretty much every other media article on the possible Raiders Lawsuit to date, except what I’ve blogged and vlogged. So, looking at one part of what may be the City of Oakland legal strategy involving the relocation fee being some kind of profit enrichment, is only one cause of action – it’s not the whole case.
If a media person bothered to research the history between the Raiders, the City of Oakland, and what I will call “The New Stadium Effort,” they would find a number of places where Oakland already claimed the Raiders harmed them, and then would have to look no futher than the NFL’s own rules of engagement as a guide to determine how to judge the Raiders behavior.
Goodell’s comment that the Raiders, again, ‘bear some” of the blame for the Raiders not building a new stadium in Oakland, invites the presentation of the one document which sets the tone for determining what the Raiders may or may not have done to the City of Oakland, the NFL Relocation Bylaws, and the current case that serves as a guide for Oakland: St; Louis versus the Rams and the NFL.
What’s already forgotten by the media writing about this outside of St. Louis and this space, is that on December 28th 2017, St. Louis scored a major court win against the NFL and the LA Rams.
The St. Louis lawsuit complaint against the Rams and the NFL alledged breech of contract and fraud, illegal enrichment and interference in business that caused significant public financial loss. Any of those claims could apply to a number of situations in the Oakland case. Remember that the Oakland Stadium saga covers the period where it looked like the Raiders were trying to move to Carson, California, after at first swearing that was not the case.
Here’s Mark Davis at the 2015 NFL Spring League Meeting in San Francisco trying to deal with my question why the organization appeared to be trying to work behind the back of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. At time, Mayor Schaaf personally told me she was under the impression the Raiders were working on a new staidium for Oakland. I told her I would ask the question if he was working behind her back, I did, and the resultant response from Mr. Davis was revealing:
And then at the same event at the San Francisco Ritz Carlton, Davis told Oakland Raiders fans he was “doing everything” he could to keep the Raiders in Oakland:
In the St. Louis case, the NFL tried to argue that the league’s relocation policy was not enforceble as a contract, and that it was mainly just a non-blinding policy that “provided guidelines” as the NFL claimed. St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh disagreed with the NFL argument and said the NFL Relocation Policy was actually a contract – one between the NFL, the Rams and St. Louis as the “host community” home of the Rams prior to relocation.
While I’ve not seen the exact City of Oakland lawsuit, given my many conversations with Oakland officials and Raiders officials over a seven year period (or since Mark Davis took over as Owner of the Raiders), it’s hard to imagine the final document will differ much from what St. Louis filed, and has survived two NFL attempts to have it dismissed.
Given just what Roger Goodell said at the 2016 Charlotte NFL Spring League Meeting, Mark Davis’ words at the 2015 NFL Spring League Meeting, and a large number of other actions that, taken together, have caused the City of Oakland, The County of Alameda, and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority to argue that the Raiders did not deal with them in good faith, and tack on to that the revealation that the Silver and Black had held what ESPN decribed as “secret” relocation-related meetings in Las Vegas going back to 2014, and you have the basics for a huge court win for Oakland.
Remember, I said “the basics” – the whole story is worthy of an epic three-hour movie script. All in time.