Oakland Raiders fans, decked out in black and silver gear, gathered at Paramount Theater on Oct. 29 for the National Football Leagues (NFL) public forum to address concerns about the team’s potential move back to Southern California.
The open forum was the last of a three-city tour hosted by four members of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s executive staff: Eric Grubman, Chris Hardart, Cynthia Hogan, and league lawyer Jay Bauman. The Raiders are in talks of possibly moving back to Southern California and sharing a stadium in Carson with their NFL rivals, the San Diego Chargers, while the St. Louis Rams are eyeing land in Inglewood, CA for its own stadium. The NFL organized the open forums in the teams’ cities to allow fans to share their thoughts before the leagues’ owners voted for the moves. So far, no application has been filed for the Raiders to move locations.
The Raiders moved to Los Angeles in 1982 under Al Davis before coming back to Oakland in 1995. The team has played in four of its five Super Bowl appearances as the “Oakland Raiders.”
“The Oakland Raiders own three Super Bowl rings [and] there are three other teams that do not,” a Raider fan said. “Oakland is a part of the elite teams in the NFL because of that. I would ask that the Oakland council and the NFL start treating us with that respect.”
To many fans’ surprise, Raiders owner Mark Davis attended the meeting and stayed during the entire three hours. While at the podium,
many fans commented on how they refrained from criticizing Davis because he was present to hear fans’ comments. In the past, Davis, son of former owner Al Davis, has been ridiculed for not making an effort to keep the team in Oakland despite making statements that the team belongs in the East Bay. Both the Raiders organization and Alameda county have reached a statement towards a new Raiders stadium. One fan expressed that if Davis moves the team to Southern California again and tries to move back to Oakland, than he should expect “a no trespassing sign.”
“The Raiders belong in Oakland. Oakland belongs to the Raiders,” one fan chanted.
Also in attendance was Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who spoke in the beginning about why Oakland loves its football team and should remain. Schaaf failed to stay for the rest of the forum.
Fans in attendance claimed that moving the team back to Southern California will be disastrous because Southern California is not meant to be home to a football team. Los Angeles has been home to three footballs team: the Rams, Raiders and Chargers who have all left at some point. The same three teams are currently trying to move back to L.A.
Raiders fans expressed their frustration about why the NFL would allow a historical franchise to break apart from its city. Despite the team’s weak past records, Oakland fans are known for their commitment to stay all four quarters, rain or shine.
Throughout the forum, fans continued to say, “Just stay, baby” in honor to previous owner Al Davis’s trademark slogan “Just win, baby.” Davis was known for building Raider Nation and making it apart of Oakland’s identity. Mark Davis was told by multiple fans that he was born into a Raider family much like themselves.
Fans proposed different ideas to raise money for a new stadium like creating crowd fund campaigns. One fan proposed the Raider organization become a community-shared organization, similar to the Green Bay Packers, where the public holds minor shares in the team.
In an effort to keep their beloved team, fans call the Oakland Raider Nation a community family.
“Oakland is home. Just stay baby.”