Staff Editorial: Silver & Black & (fool’s) Gold

Mason Schweizer, Opinion Editor

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has a net worth of half a billion dollars. In the 2016 season, the NFL hauled in a cool 13 billion bucks in revenue. One would think that between those two numbers, there wouldn’t be much of a problem building a new stadium to replace the morbidly aged Oakland Collegium that the Raiders currently call home. But apparently, if one were to think that, one would be incorrect. Because the Raiders are now abandoning Oakland for the second time in 35 years, this time for Las Vegas. The reason? The City of Oakland refused to pay hundreds of million dollars in taxpayer money to fund a new stadium.

But Vegas had the money to spend, planning to allocate $750 million in taxpayer money to build the Raiders a home in the desert that will cost roughly $1.7 billion to complete. Oakland offered about $200 million in their own public money to keep the beloved Silver & Black. One may think that a savings of $550 million is an obvious reason to move cities, but that is not including the relocation fee Davis will have to pay. While fees fluctuate on a few variables, the Rams and Chargers have both paid more than $600 million in relocation fees to move to Los Angeles in the past two years. So really, Davis is sacrificing a few scores of millions in the short term to possibly hit the jackpot in Vegas. He milked Oakland for all it had to offer, and is now moving to do the same thing in another city.

If you think the greed is bad, your head will explode when you find out that the stadium in Vegas won’t be done until the beginning of the 2020 season at the earliest. So, where will the Raiders reside for the time being? Oakland, of course. Davis and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are not only spitting in the face of Raider Nation—they’re spitting continuously for at least three years. They’re breaking up with their girlfriend, except they’re spending three years living together after the break up. Classy.

The most troubling part of all of this is the fact that Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, is currently facing an education budget crisis, short $14 million this fiscal year. Classes are being consolidated into over-crammed classrooms to save dollars here and there. All the while, the city somehow has the money to lure the NFL. The hope to get a substantial return on its investment is an obvious one, but Stanford University economist Roger Noll stated this week that he believes the odds of that happening are close to zero. In the eyes of the politicians in Vegas, proper education isn’t worth $14 million, but having an NFL team play in your city is worth $750 million.

And we think the players suffering the traumatic brain injuries that turn into CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) are the ones losing their minds.

Mason Schweizer for The Wayne Stater