Neither Mark Davis nor Oakland is wrong about the stadium

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With the Oakland Raiders stadium situation continuously in limbo, I thought I would take the time to comment on one of the more consistent questions to arise surrounding the stadium:

Who’s fault is it that Mark Davis and the Raiders cannot get a stadium deal done in Oakland?

Depending on who you ask, it is 100% Mark Davis’ fault or 100% Oakland’s fault. There are also those who would argue for a more even share of the blame. But what if I told you NO ONE is to blame other than reality.

The fact of the matter is, we are talking about two entities who have very divergent interests. The Raiders under Mark Davis have made it abundantly clear that they want a nice new stadium but don’t want to have to pay for it. I mean, who wouldn’t want stuff for free?

Meanwhile, Oakland has said repeatedly that they would love for the Raiders to stay in Oakland but not if the only way to get that done is by just handing over tax payer money. Hell, they’ve even said tax money could be used but only under an agreement where it would be paid back. In other words, they’ll offer a loan, just not a gift. Sounds like smart business to me.

Guess what? Neither of these stances are unreasonable!!!

You could argue that Oakland is unreasonable because the Raiders will bring in money. That ignores the fact that the land many want the city to gift to the Raiders is INCREDIBLY valuable. I’d invite people to take a drive through Oakland and look at the obscene number of high rise apartment complexes, bars, restaurants and other construction that is occurring. Thanks to the tech industry running out of room, Oakland has benefited massively. Hell, Uber is even in the middle of a multi million dollar renovation of an old building in downtown Oakland as they prepare to move their headquarters.

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If the City of Oakland does not keep the Raiders, they can sell the land to a developer (I know Floyd Kephart would love to buy it). That would earn a large amount of money through the sale of the land, provide new jobs through the creation of new business on the property and would create tax revenue, likely both in the form of sales taxes as well as property taxes.

You could argue that Mark Davis is a millionaire who is trying to get the public to pay for his stadium and is therefore wrong. But let me ask you this. Think about if you were a millionaire owner of a franchise where the rest of the owners are billionaires and you are constantly at a disadvantage because of that. Now someone tells you that you can either take out a loan to build your stadium or move to a city that is happy to pay for the stadium, would you REALLY sacrifice all of that money? Really?

The fact of the matter is, we have two sides with different interests, both of whom are perfectly justified in trying to protect those interest. And what makes this harder for many fans is that neither Oakland nor Mark Davis puts the Raider fans at the center of their interests. But again, that’s understandable.

I know that with the frustration surrounding the issue, people want someone to blame. But as much as this is hard for some to hear, neither Oakland nor Mark Davis are wrong. They’re both simply doing what they believe to be best for their own future, the same thing you and I do nearly every single day.

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