It’s not a fun time to be in Oakland right now. Sure, the Golden State Warriors are still great and the overwhelming favorites to win another NBA title, but the Raiders are a complete mess and it just got even messier.
If having a 3-10 record and being the frontrunner for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft wasn’t bad enough, the Oakland Raiders just fired general manager Reggie McKenzie. Now, the City of Oakland is suing the franchise for its anticipated move to Las Vegas, Nevada.
That’s right, the City of Oakland has filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract against the Raiders and the National Football League, including all 31 other organizations.
In an official press release, the Oakland City Council authorized filing the lawsuit to “recover damages resulting from the Raiders’ illegal move to Las Vegas, including lost revenue, money that Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs.”
Needless to say, this could go from messier to ugly in a split second.
“The defendants brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league’s own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city. The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill. The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants’ unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland.” — Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker
There are a lot of factors that play into this, but Tim Kawakami of The Athletic nailed it home perfectly. The Raiders, who don’t have a signed lease for the 2019 season, always said they wouldn’t play at Oakland Alameda Coliseum if the city sued them. Well, it happened.
So now what?
This might be a stretch, but what does the City of Oakland really have to lose here? They, along with taxpayers, just paid $313 million in renovations in 2017 and the franchise is already leaving the Bay Area. Might as well try to get as much of it back as they possibly can, and the suit to pay off $80 million remaining in debt does exactly that.
The plan is for owner Mark Davis and the Raiders to leave California for a new stadium in Las Vegas in 2020. Where they will play next season is a completely different story after this.
So get ready, Raiders fans. It’s pretty obvious nobody is going down here without a fight.