The NFL held its third and final town hall meeting on relocation last night. After giving fans in San Diego and St. Louis a chance to vent and make a case for why their football teams shouldn’t be relocated to Los Angeles, a group of NFL execs trudged into the Paramount Theater in Oakland to hear it from Raiders fans. This meeting was different from the previous two, though, because team owner Mark Davis actually showed up to face the fans, and boy did that work out nicely for him.
Davis welcomed the attending fans with a brief opening statement, and then took a seat to observe the proceedings after his ovation. Davis spoke one other time, when a fan asked him directly what else could possibly be done to keep the team in Oakland. Davis responded with this wad of bullshit (via the Los Angeles Times):
“We need help from the community as well to get something that our fans and the NFL can be proud of. We don’t have that right now,” Davis said. He added: “We’ve been trying for at least the past six years, every day, hundreds of hours, people in this organization trying to get something done.”
When Davis says he needs “help from the community,” what he’s really saying is that he wants the people of his city to hand him hundreds of millions of dollars so that he can build a new stadium in Oakland without having to spend too much of his own money. The reason the Raiders are so close to moving is because Oakland, unlike San Diego and St. Louis, has thus far refused to bend over backwards in order to give a billionaire free money.
That doesn’t seem to have stopped people from praising Davis for being the only owner willing to chop it up with the common folk, though:
And here’s a bit from SB Nation’s Raiders blog, Silver and Black Pride:
At one point, Davis had a question posed to him he was compelled to answer. He didn’t have to answer anything. As we found out in the first two meetings this week, he didn’t even have to be there. But since he was there, he got up and stood at one podium to answer a question that was posed by a fan at the other podium.
After [another fan] done speaking, Davis got up from his seat and personally shook the man’s hand and embraced him.
This is how the stadium scam persists. Mega-rich owners are allowed to steal money from the public when they become the sympathetic figures in the saga. Next thing you know, the owner and the fans are allied against the local politicians who just won’t do their damn jobs and “support the community” by giving people like Mark Davis—who is everyone’s good friend—a few hundred million dollars.
There was some good news at last night’s meeting, though. According to reporters who were there, only about 400 fans showed up, giving the theater the feeling of an empty cavern. Maybe Mark Davis doesn’t have as many friends as he thinks he does.