Owner takes responsibility for moving Raiders to Vegas
Written by Miles McPherson
By a vote of 31-1, the Oakland Raiders’ proposal for relocation to Las Vegas Nevada was approved during NFL owners meetings on March 27th and, just like that, the storied franchise departs from the cradle of it’s inception yet again.
I know how that feels. I moved to San Diego in 1982 to play for the Chargers, and after retiring from the NFL, I stayed in the city and remained a loyal fan of the franchise. I’ve done countless chapels for the players, regularly attend their events, and officiated Charger great Junior Seau’s funeral at Qualcomm Stadium. Then, at the end of the 2016 season, they just up and left. It’s heartbreaking. I wrote another article about what it’s like to have your favorite team leave, and you can read it by clicking HERE.
So I know what most Raiders fans must be feeling right now: shock and abandon. Even owner Mark Davis admitted to being conflicted about the decision, saying—“I have mixed feelings, obviously. I love Oakland, I love the fans in Oakland. And I know that there’s going to be disappointment and some anger”—in a recent press conference.
When the Chargers left, people were burning jerseys by the stadium. It was kind of crazy. After spending 55 years in the city of San Diego, they just left like there wasn’t anything to it! There wasn’t much resolution for the fans, and I think that they might have lost a lot of fans because of it. The breakup was so cold. All we have is an empty stadium and a pocket full of soured memories. And by contrast, the Chargers are just down the road, having moved to Los Angeles! The Raiders are moving to a little further away than that.
However, I found Mr. Davis’ stance admirable. Acknowledging the pain the team’s departure would cause on fans—pain which I myself experienced just a few months ago—he implored them to realize that, “it wasn’t the players, it wasn’t the coaches that made this decision, but it was me (Mr. Davis) that made it and if they have anybody to talk to about it should be me, and I will, in the coming days, try to explain to them what went into making this difficult decision.”
He took responsibility for his actions and claimed ownership of the outcome. Yes, the Raiders are moving again (they played in Los Angeles from 1982-1994), and yes, the local fan base is going to be disappointed, but at least they know who’s responsible for it. And somehow, that just makes it an easier pill to swallow.
Besides, they aren’t actually leaving yet. Whereas other teams bounce as soon as they can, the Raiders are staying put in the city of Oakland until the 2019 season.
There has been a little bit of jersey burning in the Bay Area, and Darymond Green of the Golden State Warriors said that, if he were a fan, he wouldn’t attend one game for the next two years. “No way I pay my money to attend a game!”
That aside, it kinda feels like business as usual. Head Coach Jack Del Rio said that the Raiders’ future move to Vegas wouldn’t become a consideration until “down the road.” This season, he has a team to coach in Oakland.
The Silver and Black’s pending departure from Oakland is no doubt inflicting wounds on hearts and minds in the Alameda area. But, the secret ingredient to healing wounds—an apology or admission of responsibility—has already been provided to them by Mr. Davis himself.
The Bible says in James 5:16 to “confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed…” Just confessing your fault or guilt in a matter can bring healing, not only to you, but to whoever you have wounded!
So let me challenge you to find someone today that you have wounded or hurt, and encourage you to follow Mark Davis’ example: give him or her an admission of guilt or responsibility, and let the healing begin!