McKernan: Report From The Oakland Town Hall

Tim McKernan, Fri, 30 Oct 2015 13:00:00 GMT

Report From The Oakland Town Hall

OAKLAND “ They didn’t expect him to appear, but when he did, they stood and cheered.

Raiders’ owner Mark Davis made a surprise entrance at the start of the third and final NFL Town Hall Meeting Thursday night at The Paramount Theater in Downtown Oakland.

eric grubman, flanked by the same nfl associates who had joined him on stage in st. louis and san diego, introduced davis, and 90 percent of the crowd stood and cheered, although some boos could be heard.

But, the Raiders’ owner addressed his team’s fans, unlike Stan Kroenke and Dean Spanos, and spoke of a commitment to making it work in Oakland, but needing help from the community in order to make it happen.

Davis went on to say the night wasn’t about him answering questions, but the fans getting a chance to have their voices heard. He promised to listen, and then took his spot in the front row of the theater.

He then sat there and listened, quite a bit, as Raiders’ fans, often dressed in costumes familiar to those who have watched games at The Black Hole, gave Eric Grubman and Davis a piece of their mind.

It got so fiery at one point that Davis got up to answer questions from a gentleman dressed like The Undertaker, only to be yelled at by the crowd to find a microphone. When he did, a number of fans screamed at him to sell the team, with one gentleman yelling, You don’t have any money, Mark!

Two of the most fiery speakers of the evening were Dr. Death and Bauce Man. I caught up with both of them outside The Paramount Theater.

You can watch the video of my interview with Dr. Death and Bauce Man here.

Takeaways From The Raiders’ Town Hall

-They may come dressed up in intimidating costumes, but I found the Raiders’ fans with whom I spoke to be quite kind and entertaining to talk to. They love that football team.

-It likely looked bad on TV, because the Paramount Theater holds about 3,000 people , twice as many as San Diego’s Spreckels Theater and 1,000 more seats than the Peabody in St. Louis. With that said, as we were leaving, there were some reporters talking about a surprisingly low attendance total. I don’t have the exact numbers at the time of writing this, but some Bay Area TV people were discussing that one of the focal points of their reports would be a low attendance.

-i have no idea what the two guys on the end of the four-person nfl panel were there to do. i watched three nights of town halls, and i heard them talk for a total of two minutes.

-Raiders’ fans said they have no interest in going to Carson, joining Chargers’ fans in that statement. Carson’s a hell of a lot farther from Oakland than San Diego, but it isn’t about distance for the people with whom I talked. As one gentleman told me on the Periscope session outside of The Paramount Theater, It’s about civic pride.

-There’s a lot of bitterness from Raiders’ fans about the team leaving to go to Los Angeles the first time. But, similar to Chargers’ fans, they don’t seem too concerned about losing them this time. Just like Wednesday night in San Diego, the majority of the people I spoke with thought that it would be the Rams moving to Los Angeles. With that said, the majority were sympathetic to the people of St. Louis, as there’s a feeling that each fan base in this thing is getting dicked around.

What Stood Out From The California NFL Reconnaissance Mission

-Carson is viewed with skepticism. I think that would be my headline. That’s with political figures outside of Carson. That’s with media covering this situation. And that’s with many I talked to in the fan bases of San Diego and Oakland.

-Now, that could actually wind up meaning nothing. But, I can tell you that heading out here nearly a week ago, I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other. Leaving California, that’s what stands out to me after talking to a number of people on camera and off camera.

-From a credible reporter on this story: The funny thing about Oakland is they have the least momentum in their city to build a stadium, and yet they’re the ones who are least likely to lose their team.

-From an NFL source: The only reason St. Louis got an NFL team 20 years ago is because they made a bad deal. The only way St. Louis keeps an NFL team 20 years later is if they make another bad deal.

And Now, The River,

Loyal listeners of The Ryan Kelley Morning After and loyal readers of insideSTL.com know that I make poker analogies to damn near everything.

perhaps the reason i’m so fascinated by this story is because it’s the biggest hand of poker ever played. billions of dollars are in the pot. brilliant players with ivy league advisors are sitting at the table. and the people at home are watching the hand play out without the benefit of the hole card cameras.

The cards were dealt by the NFL, the teams, and the cities years ago. They made their bets.

Everyone came along for the flop. They made their bets.

Everyone came along for the turn. They made their bets.

St. Louis the aggressor. San Diego active as well. Oakland calling.

And now we reach the river.

Who’s holding the best hand?

The honest answer is I don’t know.

But, based on conversations over the last week with multiple sources, I can tell you that St. Louis isn’t just playing this hand hoping to win by holding the best two cards.

They’re playing to win with a Plan B and a Plan C.

Because those in the know think—or know—that the deck is stacked against them.

So, what do you do with a cheater in a card game?

You take him out.

If you have any questions, comments, or whatever, email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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