A report from Los Angeles radio station 980-AM ‘The Beast’ has kicked off a new round of speculation that the Oakland Raiders are headed back for southern California.
An obliquely-sourced report from Jeanne Zelasko made wild assertions in regard to the finances of owner Mark Davis and his team. Zelasko alluded to a degree of insolvency on Davis’ part, and the need for a helping hand.
Zelasko also reported that other owners, even Jerry Jones — a close personal friend of the Davis family — want to stage a coup d’etat to force Davis out of the league.
The station later aired a statement from AEG spokesperson Michael Roth that refuted Zelasko’s report, even after citing a policy not to comment.
AEG is a sports management and development company that handles the day-to-day operations of O.Co Coliseum and Staples Center, and is working to build a football stadium in Los Angeles by 2016.
The Raiders have not responded to SFBay requests for comment, though it’s hard to blame them, since a new rumor or report seemingly hits the airwaves every week.
The idea of an NFL team heading back to Los Angeles is not a new concept. The Raiders are often involved in such conversations, especially since they’ve done it before.
But at least one big, convincing reason indicates a Davis-owned Raiders team would not return to southern California.
The Oakland Raiders moved to Los Angeles basically overnight in 1982 under a promise that they would receive a new stadium. According to reports from that time, and as told in the 2007 book ‘Tom Flores’ Tales from the Sidelines,’ a regime of politicians reneged on the promise.
Former owner Al Davis was a fiercely loyal man, and didn’t forgive betrayal. Mark Davis seems to have a similar temperament, and surely hasn’t forgotten the times when his father felt it necessary to sue the NFL in lieu of failed development plans.
Of all the reasons — financial, slapping the Oakland fan base in the face again — this is the largest of them all to support the Raiders not moving to Los Angeles.
That’s not to say the area wont be getting a football team in the future. The Rams, the Buccaneers, even the Chargers, could make the move. That’s also not to say the Raiders aren’t going to move.
Most recently, San Antonio has been named a potential destination. Portland has also been floated, the most logical of places.
And while Portland may not appear to have a large base of fans, the NBA’s Trailblazers ranked fifth in attendance last season, over the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers and even the Lakers.
If any city is a threat to Oakland when it comes to a Raiders move, the smaller Oregon municipality has the best case.
And Los Angeles seems to have the weakest.
So don’t believe the hoopla. At least not this round.