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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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Eyes On NFL: The Las Vegas Raiders Are A Reality

By @TrueBlueLowry21

The Raiders will be on the move. Monday morning, the NFL owners approved the relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, Nevada. The vote was 31 to 1 with the Miami Dolphins being the lone team to vote no. This has been something that’s been building for months with the lack of a long term solution to keep the team in Oakland. This is the second time the Raiders will relocate from Oakland, with the first being in 1982 when the team moved south to Los Angeles, California. They would eventually move back in 1995 after failing to secure a new stadium deal in L.A.

Many fans aren’t taking this move well as they feel the team has spurned their loyalty after years of losing. Many say this is the team valuing money over fans, but isn’t that what professional sports is about in general. While billion dollar owners should do what they can to build a stadium themselves in their home market, the city and its politicians should also do their part to help these teams get that stadium done to bring a positive impact to the city.

Currently, we face a blame game for the Raiders leaving. Some fault the city of Oakland and Mayor Libby Schaaf, while others fault owner Mark Davis and the NFL for this happening. I can sit here and honestly say that you have to place responsibility on both sides. The City of Oakland has had years to come up with a solution to keep the Raiders in Oakland and as we see, they didn't succeed. The Oakland-Alameda Coliseum was in bad shape, not to mention that the team was sharing the stadium with the Oakland A’s (baseball team). Oakland has come up with different plans, however all Mark Davis wanted was land to build the stadium on. Oakland didn’t do that, so Davis had no other choice but to pick up and leave. Both sides take the blame here, but it sucks Oakland couldn't get the right deal in place for them and as far as I'm concerned, the city probably takes more of the blame.

As far as Davis goes, you can’t fault the man for doing what’s best for the franchise. Las Vegas gave him a stadium and the land to build on while Oakland didn’t. On the other hand, Mark Davis could’ve explored more options outside of Oakland to get a new stadium. While they’ve explored Concord and Dublin, I felt they could’ve done more exploring for an area to get a new stadium. Whether or not those deals would have been successful is not known, but there was still a chance to make something happen and they didn't. Still, as I said, you can't fault him too much for doing what was best for the franchise.

My feelings personally are a bit different than others. I’m bummed that the team will be leaving California, however I still plan on making the trip to Vegas to watch the team and hold on to my season tickets. My loyalty to the team is not limited to the city, but to the team that’s on that field competing to win. I do feel for many friends that are taking the move hard, and I believe the atmosphere in Vegas will never mimic what Oakland was. It was a flat out rugged and hardcore vibe that fit the team’s identity and style. Yes, the team will play the last year (or two) in Oakland, but with this move, things will not be the same again. As of now the Raiders are still the Oakland Raiders, but an era in the NFL’s chapter has come to a crushing end.



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