ALAMEDA, Calif. — Calling the filing of a federal lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders and the NFL by the city of Oakland “meritless and malicious,” team owner Mark Davis told ESPN late Tuesday night from the NFL owners meetings in Dallas that he would have no further comment on the matter.
“My feeling is we’re 3-10 and we’re still relevant,” Davis said. “It’s a legal issue, and I’ll let the attorneys make any further comment.”
With the Raiders not having a lease to play home games anywhere next season and the team having already proposed a lease to remain at the Oakland Coliseum for one last season, Davis had said he would not play there if a lawsuit was filed. He softened his stance last month, though, saying, “I personally want to play in Oakland. I absolutely want to play in Oakland. We have a completed lease sitting with the city council, that all they have to do is agree to it and we’re here next year.”
“Emotionally, I would say, why would I give them $3 [million], $4 [million], $5 million in rent that they’re going to turn around and use to sue me?” Davis had continued. “But at the same time, if they’ll have us, I can’t turn on the fans. I can’t do it. And this is terrible negotiating I’m doing now. I’m going to get killed. But that’s just the way I am. But if in fact it does get ugly, and can’t be bridged, we do have options.”
Asked on Tuesday if the reality of a lawsuit meant the Raiders would leave Oakland or stay, Davis said, “I have no comment on that at this time.” That statement is obviously different from what he told ESPN a month ago.
In a press release announcing the suit, Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker “recommended and 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” but would not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland.
With the team moving to Las Vegas in 2020, cities thought to be in the running to be a one-year home for the Raiders in 2019 include San Diego; Santa Clara, California; Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas; and Glendale, Arizona.
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