Raiders owner Mark Davis says Oakland must act fast on team's future

Raiders owner Mark Davis says Oakland must act fast on team's future
Raiders owner Mark Davis, right, speaks to fans and media outside the NFL's owners meetings in San Francisco. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Mark Davis couldn't ignore the chant, which was yelled from the sidewalk in front of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Tuesday but was loud enough to echo throughout the lobby.

"Stay in Oak-land. Stay in Oak-land," a cluster of Raiders fans bellowed in that familiar sing-song rhythm.


Eventually, after speaking to reporters, the team's owner walked out to the chanting fans to sign autographs and plead his case.

"Let the people at the city and county know what you want done," Davis told them. "You've got a willing partner here. But you've got to do it quick, man, that's all I've got to say."

As is the case in St. Louis and San Diego, devout fans here are concerned about losing their NFL team to Los Angeles. Davis came across the bay for the league's two-day meetings, which in part are focused on the two-decade vacancy in L.A.

The Raiders and Chargers are jointly pursuing a stadium option in Carson. Rams owner Stan Kroenke has a competing proposal in Inglewood. Owners of all three teams are expected to give updates on progress in their home markets Wednesday to the ownership at large.

Davis said the fact that the city of Oakland and Alameda County are now talking is "a flicker of hope," but doesn't seem overly optimistic a solution is on the horizon. Asked if this process is in the 11th hour, he said: "I don't want to put a time limit on it, but it's getting close."

Among the points Davis made clear:

  • He has no plans to sell the team. "No, never," he said.
  • If the Rams were to leave St. Louis, and that city came up with a stadium plan, the Raiders would not consider moving there. "That's a completely false report," he said. "No interest in doing that."
  • Sharing a stadium with the 49ers in Santa Clara is a non-starter. He doesn't want his team to be a second tenant to anyone, so the 50/50 Carson arrangement is far more appealing. "It's just as far for me to get to Santa Clara as it would be for me to fly to L.A.," he said. "So if we're going to move the team, let's get something that's going to be for the Raiders."
  • The Raiders would be willing to cover $500 million of a new stadium in Oakland — including a $200-million loan from the NFL — but would want Oakland to provide the land, the surrounding infrastructure (such as freeway offramps), and the remaining $400 million on an estimated venue cost of $900 million.
  • Oakland has promised to deliver a financing plan by June 21, but Davis would prefer to have it earlier. "Like yesterday," he said.

The gathering of Raiders fans who showed up at the meetings was small but vocal. There were some L.A. Rams fans, too, and San Diego Chargers fans holding signs that read "Save Our Bolts."

Ray Perez showed up to voice his support of keeping the Raiders in Oakland. He goes by the nickname "Dr. Death," and wears silver and black face paint, a hard hat adorned with a Mohawk of fake knives, a jersey and shoulder pads, and striped prison pants.

"We want something of hope — something," Perez said. "I understand that [Davis] needs leverage, and he wants to stay here, but whatever you do in Carson, you've got to do the same thing here. We feel like we're giving them our money and we're not getting anything in return.

"For those that aren't involved in the politics, and just see the media, they think the Raiders are as good as gone. They're desperate. I get phone calls, text messages, tweets — 'What's going on?' — every day."

Davis understands the emotional element of the situation. He's emotional about it, too.

"I'm trying to get something right for the long-term future of the Raiders," he said. "Something that would be great for the Raiders and the NFL."