Oakland Raiders fan and community groups are mobilizing fans of all 32 National Football League (NFL) teams to urge owners to keep the team in Oakland.
Writer: Carly Terwilliger
A coalition of fan groups including SaveOaklandSports, the Oakland Raiders Booster Club, Stay In Oakland, The Oakland Economic Impact and Legal Action Committee and FanFairness.org will send a letter to the editor at newspapers in all 32 NFL markets with a request for other fans’ support.
The letter builds upon the coalitions’ ongoing effort to ask all fans to email or call their respective ownership groups to vote “No” on the Raiders’ attempt to leave Oakland for the second time. Fans across the U.S. can also sign an online petition against the move.
The petition outlines why the Raiders do not meet the NFL’s written guidelines for relocation – specifically that the team has great support and has not exhausted all options in the Oakland market.
“We respectfully ask fans to consider how they would feel if their team planned to move despite receiving many years of loyalty,” said Jim Zelinski, co-founder of SaveOaklandSports. “The Raiders plan to abandon Oakland – again – and we hope fans in all sports and community leaders across the U.S. will join us and make clear to owners that they believe keeping the Raiders is in the best interest of all stakeholders including the NFL. The parade of relocations must stop; it will serve only to erode fan loyalty and weaken the NFL.”
“The Oakland Raiders fan base is known for its unrelenting support,” said John Lupo, who founded Stay In Oakland. “I believe, however, that approving relocation will not be in in the best interest of the team or league. There is a point when the fans will no longer financially support the organization and the league needs to be aware of this.”
NFL owners may vote at their meetings in May on whether to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. The Oakland proposal by the Fortress Group including NFL Hall-of-Famer Ronnie Lott.
The open letter to Commissioner Goodell and the petition can be found here. It currently has 2,488 supporters.
Photo courtesy Save Oakland Sports Oakland CA