Press Conference on Raiders’
Goodell: Our goal
is to have 32 stable franchises for each of those teams and the league. We
worked very hard and never want to see the relocation of a franchise. That
means exhausting our options and doing everything we possibly can to get a
solution in the existing market.
know, there’s been a stadium situation in Oakland that we felt needed to be
addressed. I think even our friends in Oakland agree that it needed to be
resolved for the long-term issue of the team, and frankly, the community. This
has been an issue for well over a decade. We have a very rigorous and
disciplined process. It’s a difficult process, as it should be.
stadium committee and finance committee, which represent 18 owners, worked
tirelessly on this over the last nine months or so, just on this relocation proposal.
We believe we and the Raiders have worked earnestly in Oakland for over a
decade to try and find that viable option in Oakland. We needed to provide
certainty and stability for the Raiders as well as the league. As you know the
clubs also, I think it was 2015, put off the decision for a relocation in the
hopes of trying to see if we could develop a solution in Oakland. The owners
put in an additional $100 million – unprecedented - for a $300 million total,
to try to find that solution in Oakland. So, I know the ownership feels they
went the extra mile to try to find that solution in Oakland.
I want to
thank the mayor. I just spoke to her briefly to tell her that I appreciated her
efforts. I’m certain she’s disappointed as we all are. But I want to thank her
for her efforts in trying to find a viable solution. I believe she worked
tirelessly. She worked tirelessly with Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete, and many
others in the community to try to find a solution that we could all be proud of
and all move forward in a way that was very positive for both the Raiders and
the Oakland community. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that done and we’re all
disappointed. We’re particularly disappointed for the fans of the Oakland
Raiders in Oakland. This is something that I know will be seen with a great
deal of disappointment by them, we understand that, and we worked as tirelessly
and as hard as we could to try to find that solution and we just couldn’t get
McNair: Thank you
Commissioner. We’ve worked for probably two years, not just the last nine
months on trying to find a solution for the Raiders, and of course our first
choice was to find an answer in Oakland. Unfortunately, we were not able to do
that, and the plan that the Raiders now have to play in Nevada and Las Vegas is
a very sound plan, and one that we’ve looked at very carefully, and it meets
all of our standards and financial conditions. So, we’re delighted for the
Raiders we think this will lead to a more stable franchise and that’s the goal
of all of us in the league, is to have 32 clubs that are all strong. So, we
wish the Raiders and Mark Davis well, we regret that Oakland fans are going to
be disappointed and I wish we could do something about that, but we weren’t
able to successfully find a viable plan there. So, congratulations Mark.
Rooney: I just
want to add, as has been said, these are difficult decisions. Anybody who
has visited Oakland, and played a game there in the last several years
understands the stadium situation there was difficult, at best, and so we
needed a solution. We did wait a considerable amount of time to see if a plan
could be developed to keep the team in Oakland. As the Commissioner said, we
appreciate Mayor Schaaff’s efforts to try and put something on the table. My
own personal opinion is that the presence of the baseball team on site was a
complication that they really couldn’t find a way to work around. So, we’re
here today with a situation where I think the future of the Raiders can be much
more solid playing in a first-class stadium, so we are happy the Raiders are
going to have a home for the long-term, and appreciate the efforts of Las Vegas
and Nevada for helping make that happen.
Davis: I’d like to
thank Commissioner Goodell, the two committee chairmen, Mr. McNair and Mr.
Rooney, and my other 31 partners in the National Football League for making
this vote in our favor. I’d also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and
congratulate him as well, and the legislature of Nevada, who overwhelmingly
supported this process and are bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas. Finally, I’d
like to thank Sheldon Adelson, whose vision and directions made it possible,
and probably would have never happened without him.
used to say that the greatness of the Raiders is in its future, and the
opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the
world is one opportunity that will give us the ability to achieve that
mixed feelings, obviously. I love Oakland, I love the fans in Oakland, and I
know that there’s going to be disappointment and maybe some anger. I just hope
that in the future, as we play in Oakland this year, that they understand that
it wasn’t the players, it wasn’t the coaches that made this decision, but it
was me that made it, and if they have anybody to talk to about it, it should be
me. I will, in the coming days, try to explain to them what went into making
this difficult decision.
the plan for the Raiders for the next couple of seasons, if not, three seasons?
I assume they’re going to play in Oakland, and are there concerns the league
has about that, a team that’s going to leave?
Goodell: They do have an option. As you
know, they just signed, last year, two more years. Each individual year, they
have an option. For ’19, they do not have a confirmed site. That is something
they’re exploring. They mentioned that to the ownership today and it was part
of their consideration.
Goodell: Yes, we do this is an important
step for us. It’s an important step in trying to get stability for the Raiders
long term. They obviously are going to need a few years to get the stadium
built, but in the meantime, we intend to play in Oakland.
point did this turn? What could Oakland have done to make the outcome
Goodell: The points that we always put
back to Oakland were that we need certainty and a viable plan that will work
for the community and the team long term. It had to be actionable. We
understand that the contingencies sometimes occur, but major contingencies that
put the entire project into doubt are just unreasonable on a case like this.
What we tried to do was work very hard over the last several years to address
those issues and to come up with some type of plan that we could invest well
over a billion dollars to get a stadium built there. If we have all the facts
on the table and we can develop a plan, it can get done. It has gotten done.
We’ve done it effectively. We’re doing it in Los Angeles effectively with
private money. So, these are all efforts that we tried to get solutions to
mentioned that they have commitments to the A’s that is a complicating factor
in this because you don’t have the certainty of when the A’s are going to be
leaving the site, where they’re going to be able to build on the site, what the
development is going to incur on the site and all those important decisions
when you’re investing that kind of money.
the Raiders playing in Oakland will they be known as the Oakland Raiders or are
they the Las Vegas Raiders? How does that work?
Goodell: I believe they’re going to
continue to be called the Oakland Raiders.
Goodell: As long as they’re in Oakland.
just to kind of piggy back on the idea of you having a rather long lame duck
scenario with you and Oakland, what do you tell the fans there about continuing
to support the team during that window and how concerned are you that the anger
and the frustration of those fans will diminish the vibe that you’re creating
with your franchise.
Davis: It’s tough. I wouldn’t use the
term lame duck. We’re still the Oakland Raiders and we are the Raiders and we
represent the Raider nation. As I said earlier there’s going to be some
disappointed fans and angry fans. It’s going to be up to me to talk to them and
let them know why, how and what has happened. Hopefully we can work things out
and work together for the future.
are your options for 2019 and maybe even 2018?
Davis: We have two more years of lease
options for Oakland right now. If the fans would like us to stay there, we’d
love to be there for that and possibly talk to them about extending it for
maybe 2019 as well and try to bring a championship back to Oakland.
talk about your father’s legacy and this decision today how does that make you
Davis: Well, it’s a tough decision. I
think he’d be proud that two young kids, myself and Mark who started out as
water boys in this organization, are taking this organization now into the
future in a world-class stadium and like I said the entertainment capital of
the world. I think he’d be proud.
fans have put down their season ticket deposits this year; I’m wondering if
given this decision, maybe there will be refunds if they request them. That’s
number one. Number two, when did this turn for you, that you started to say Las
Vegas is where I’m going to go?
Davis: If any of the fans that have given
deposits for season tickets would like to refund them, we’d be happy to do
that. Well not happy, but you know how that goes, but yes, absolutely.
it turned during the L.A. part where, before the vote for Los Angeles, Oakland
had an opportunity to come in and make a presentation to the league. They came
in with a five-page piece of paper that had nothing to do with anything. They
claimed that they would wait for us to lose the vote, then to come back and
they would have all the leverage. We lost the vote, we came back to Oakland, we
negotiated a one-year lease with two years of options and talked about getting
together and talking about a long-term future together. A week later I got a
call from one of the county board of supervisors telling me: ‘Mark, I’m sorry
but the lease that we just negotiated, the three years of leases, are not going
to be valid, and we’re going to raise the rent three times on you.’ At that
point we ended up signing that lease anyway, but then decided we had to start
looking elsewhere to see if we could find a long-term solution.
you went through the ups and downs of trying to regain financing there, did you
think the 750 would stand the test of time when it came to the owners when they
made the decision on this that, with that kind of commitment from Nevada, that
that could stand even as you had to get new financing?
Davis: The commitment made by the
Governor of Nevada and the legislature of Nevada was pretty strong to me. My
commitment to them was just as strong, so no we never had a problem with that.