Loren Piper is an Oakland Raiders Season Ticket Holder who’s time with the Silver and Black stretches all the way back to the beginning in 1960. Mr. Piper is, for practical purposes, walking Oakland Raiders History, who’s story has not been fully told. I have tried to tell it to some degree, as was the case at 2017 Oakland Raiders Training Camp:
But I digress. As you can hear, Mr. Piper also does not agree at all with Mark Davis attempt to move the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Loren Piper, who’s more than earned the right to express his direct view to Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis, did just that at the 2018 Oakland Raiders Training Camp, (that Saturday is one which I did not attend but I may do so before it’s all said and done for this year). In the Facebook video posted later in this post, you can hear Davis say “You have your opinion, and I have mine,” to Loren (I tried to hunt down as many videos from that encounter as I could, but so far only two have surfaced; have more, please send me a link and I will add them to this entry.)
What Mark Davis has to be aware of is if he wants Oakland Raiders Fans to understand (even if they don’t agree) why he’s trying to move to Las Vegas, he has to first listen to their concerns, and second, sell them on his idea, not argue with them. To date, Mr. Davis has not done that. Instead, Mark has seemingly mastered the dark art of confrontation, coming off more like Michael Corleone after he became the Godfather and offed all of the henchmen who he though were turning against the family, than like Barack Obama, running for President.
Mark Davis did that with longtime Oakland Raiders Super Fan Greg “Godfather Griz” Jones at the now famous 2016 Oakland Raiders Training Camp cross-talk where Davis told Griz he was “fine” with splitting Oakland Raiders fans over the Las Vegas relocation issue. He’s done that with me twice at NFL Owners Meetings, saying “I don’t want to talk to you,” when he had no idea what I was going to ask him about (and obviously forgetting that there are other subjects of NFL concern beyond the subject of Las Vegas, like the “heads-up tackling” rules and the thorny National Anthem issue.)
And In My Case Mark Davis Gave Me An Assignment
It happened. I saw it. Moment of Zennie… https://t.co/CDm7OJ94fQ
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) May 22, 2015
And in my case, Mark Davis is the same person who, and the 2015 NFL Spring Owners Meeting in San Francisco, and with my long-time friend NFL Network Senior Writer Mike Silver and Oakland Raiders Public Relations Director Will Kiss as witness, asked me to form a stadium plan for the Oakland Raiders to remain at the Coliseum. I made a stadium spreadsheet pro-forma, tracked down, cold-called, and secured the help of Piper Jaffray Investment Banker’s Managing Director Diane Paauwe and her team. Had a conference call with that Piper Jaffray team where they said the spreadsheet “looked good” and just needed a bond amortization schedule, which I later made. Then sent all of the emails to the Raiders and to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and others.
Then, I saw Mark at the 2015 NFL Special Meeting in Schamburgh, Ill on the Los Angeles relocation issue, and my first words to him, after “hello”, were “I’ve got $2 billion for you, Mark.” And referring to the free-and-clear profit stream that I’d managed to earmark for the Raiders from my stadium plan, and over a 40 year period. He said “That’s great,” but was headed to the elevator, and didn’t invite me up to talk with him. You’d think he would be keenly interested in what I had to say, given what he asked me to do, but Davis commonly acted like he was afraid to talk to me, and that was before he said he didn’t want to talk to me. Moreover, even if he was headed to Las Vegas, which he was, you’d think Mark would consider it a good idea to listen to me for plans that he may use in Sin City. Think about it.
And I did all of that for free – a community gift (and Coliseum City Reboot website) to an as usual unappreciative Oakland (both the City of Oakland and the Oakland Raiders, to name a few) that, in total, has treated me in a very shitty way that goes all the way back to my bid to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland that only lost by eight NFL Owner votes to Jacksonville in 2000, and even to my 1987 to 1988 work for the Oakland Redevelopment Agency as an intern, in forming a plan for a West Oakland Apparel Incubator and creating the Area Redevelopment Economic Model to forecast the fiscal performance of the then-planned Coliseum Redevelopment Area. And caused many people to say that had I been white, Oakland would have not treated me that way. (But to be fair, my former boss Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and now former Oakland City Administrator Robert Bobb have been cheerleaders of mine and friends to this day.) Just telling the truth, folks. But I digress. With all that, Davis didn’t meet with me or return my phone calls regarding what he asked me to do.
And in truth of story, neither did Mayor Schaaf, even as Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben did meet with me, and said I “dotted every I and crossed every T.” I received a personal word of encoragement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well.
With all of that, I had to track down now former NFL Senior Vice President Eric Grubman at Oakland International Airport in July of 2015 to find out the truth, as he said to me “they don’t want to use your plan, Zennie”. To which I said “I figured that. I’d just wished they’d met with me to go over it, and so I could learn why. Eric didn’t know why, either. In retrospect, it had to be because Mark Dacis had, in his mind, already set sail for Las Vegas, thus only causing me to do work that, in reality, he didn’t value at all.
Mark Davis Sad Reputation With Oakland Raiders Fans Is Growing
Mark Davis is slowly developing a sad reputation as one who’s more willing to argue with Oakland Raiders Fans and get in their face, rather than one who likes everyone, even if they disagree with him. That’s not to say he wants to be this way, but Davis somehow does this thing where it winds up that he looks like the bad guy. Here’s Mark Davis with Loren Piper, and from as many angles as I could find on social media. That written, I’d like to thank Oakland Raiders Fan Juan Ramirez for alerting me to this rather heated exchange between Mark Davis and Loren Piper:
And this angle from Rueben Botello on Twitter…
— Rueben Botello (@BotelloRueben) July 29, 2018
And then there’s a rather sad, nasty, and unfortunate but honest blast at Mr. Davis as he walked by, captured on video. I don’t present it to insult Mark, but to show the degree to which he’s angered the Oakland Raiders fan base over not just moving the team to Las Vegas, but how he’s done it. Let’s recap:
1. Davis obviously planned the Las Vegas move going back to 2014, according to ESPN.
2. Davis gave Oakland Officials every word that he wanted to stay in Oakland, but his actions showed he was not sincere in the opinion of many, from the Mayor of Oakland to several Oakland City Councilmembers and Alameda County Board of Supervisors members, and of course, Raiders fans.
3. Don Webb, wth the title of LV Stadium Company Chief Operating Officer and head of Las Vegas Stadium Construction for the Oakland Raiders, makes the anti-Oakland Raiders Fans statement-heard-round-the-World in September 21 of 2017, saying to a Las Vegas audience “We like the deeply passionate fans. But we want the stadium to be not only a safe environment, but we want it to be perceived as a family-friendly environment. So I think there will be some changes, frankly, to the fan base when the team moves to Las Vegas and the method of operating the stadium. I think I’ll leave it there, but the team ownership and team management is very keen on projecting the right image when this team comes to Las Vegas.”
That statement was not countered by Mark Davis or the Raiders brass, and seems to sum up the way Mark’s treating Oakland Raiders fans to this date.
And so we get videos like this one, with a fan taunting Mr. Davis as he walked by at the Napa Training Camp in the hotel lobby area:
It’s no wonder Oakland Raiders fans post videos like this one:
Mark Davis Has To Treat Oakland Raiders Fans Better
Mark has to understand this: if he tells the 100 percent unvarnished truth to Oakland Raiders Fans about why he elected to move the team to Las Vegas, and then actively listens to them without a response of any kind, but only to answer any questions they have, he may win a few converts or have fans disagree with him in a respectful way. Mark Davis also should understand that people are predisposed to like him just because he’s the Owner of the Oakland Raiders – to toss that all way by being what’s perceived as angry and disrespectful to Oakland Raiders fans who disagree with him on the Las Vegas relocation is shameful.
But right now, a vast number of Oakland Raiders Fans are angry with Davis and if the responses on my livestream shows are any indication, many would love to see the Raiders just plain evicted from the Oakland Coliseum, right now – no lease extention at all. The City of Oakland has not yet voted on a lawsuit (and one source says the votes are there) but Raiders fans want to see that happen, yesterday. All of this was caused by the really bad way Mark handled this matter to date.
What Mark Davis Should Have Done, But Didn’t Do
What Mark Davis should have done is held a press conference in 2014 and told the City of Oakland that he was going to make finding a future home for the Raiders top priority and because they were not performing fiscally well at the current Oakland Coliseum. Davis should have listed the cities that are in competition with each other: Carson, Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Oakland. He then should have given a drawing and specs of the kind of stadium he wanted in Oakland, and in general – an artist rendition of the new stadium in Oakland (something that does not exist for the public to see). Then said he was going to work with Oakland to build that new stadium but had a team to work on the other cities. If Oakland had its financing and infrastructure plans ready by the Fall of 2015, and only after working fully with the Raiders over that time before the deadline, the competition would be considered done.
If the Raiders had taken that approach, it would be an open horse race, with Oakland given front-runner status as the home team. Instead, the Raiders (and it seems the NFL) did their team relocation planning largely in secret, thus causing claims that the team did not act in good faith with the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda and the Coliseum JPA – and forming the basis for the proposed lawsuit.
And the bad relationship with Oakland Raiders Fans.