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13th hour play to keep Raiders in Oakland may not work


Nearly 40 years after Al Davis sued the NFL to force his way out of Oakland, Mark Davis could eventually be doing the same thing.

That’s the biggest takeaway from the news that Oakland believes a “framework deal” has been reached with a private developer to keep the Raiders in town. The agreement, few details of which were disclosed, has been reached with a group led by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

“We’re excited that, for the first time, we’re working with a private partner who has not just the passion to keep the Raiders in Oakland but also the capacity to put upfront the amount of capital it will take to privately finance a stadium,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said, via “The Raiders belong in Oakland. This is where they were born and raised. This is a part of their identity, and they are a part of our identity.”

It’s unclear whether the arrangement relates only to the building of a stadium, or whether the group would expect to acquire partial ownership of the team. Past efforts to secure private funding for a new stadium in Oakland have been complicated by an expectation that the person(s) footing the bill would also acquire an interest in the team ranging from a minority share to a path to control.

Regardless, Mark Davis doesn’t seem to be inclined to accept this 13th hour effort to derail his plan to move to Las Vegas.

“The Raiders are committed to Las Vegas, and that’s what I’m working on,” Davis said Tuesday.

As one source with knowledge of the dynamics recently explained it to PFT, Davis is indeed intent on moving. When the owners next meet in December, the current expectation is that league executive Eric Grubman will present a detailed case for keeping the team in Oakland, in the hopes of conjuring at least nine total votes to block the move. (Steelers owner Art Rooney II and Giants co-owner John Mara are believed to be already opposed to a move.)

And here’s where it will get interesting. If Davis can’t get 24 votes in support of the move, Davis may decide to just move, arguing as his father did before him that the league would be violate antitrust laws via the effort of independent businesses to come together and dictate the terms by which any of them may operate.

It hasn’t gotten to the point yet where Davis is required to show his hand. But he has a black ace up his sleeve, and the spade has been replaced by a shield with “AL” in the middle of it.