It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that a beloved NFL team is ready to pack its bags and leave a city full of loyal Californians in the lurch.
What is surprising is that the Oakland Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas isn’t already a 100% done deal — because there’s one thing NFL teams are good at, it’s leaving behind the fans who love them without so much as a goodbye peck on the cheek.
Never mind the fact that not one, but two different investors pulled out of the Raiders’ $2 billion stadium deal before Bank of America (a true hero of the people if there ever was one) came swooping to the rescue.
Never mind the fact that there isn’t even a lease for the stadium yet, or that local officials in Las Vegas have serious questions about whether the deal might leave taxpayers on the hook if the Raiders don’t make as much money as they expect.
Never mind the fact that the Raiders are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the league, with long roots in Oakland. Or that their current starting quarterback says he feels sorry for Oakland fans.
Never mind any of that — because none of it matters.
When it comes time to choose between money and the fans, the NFL has shown that it will pick money. Every single time.
Just two months ago, it was the Chargers who said they’d leave town. Owner Dean Spanos wanted a new stadium on the public dime. San Diego told him, in so many words, to pay for it himself. So Spanos decided to get out of Dodge, rushing into the arms of investors in Los Angeles, and ridiculously telling his friends that it was a decision he had to make “for his family.”
Now, it looks like Raiders owner Mark Davis, a guy worth half a billion dollars, is ready to do the same thing. With Las Vegas willing to put up $750 million in public money for a new stadium, the deal is too good to be true — at least for Davis, the rest of his owners, and the league. Owners could vote as early as the end of this month to approve the Raiders’ move to Nevada.
As for the fans? Well … screw ‘em.
Like we said: It’s not surprising.
But it’s pretty damn disappointing.