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NFL APPROVES RAIDERS' MOVE; SOMEONE STILL MAY HAVE TO PAY
Published July 24, 1995
In an action called both "dramatic and seemingly contradictory," NFL owners approved the Raiders move to Oakland Friday in Chicago "while erecting a substantial barrier to the move itself," according to Barry Witt in the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Raiders Owner Al Davis won approval in a 23-0 vote, with two absences and five abstentions -- one being Davis himself. However, the owners "also determined that Oakland and Alameda County officials have violated" league policy that requires revenue sharing of PSL money not designated for stadium construction. Witt reports that "several owners believe the deal was structured by the Raiders and East Bay governments to hide some revenues from the rest of the league by giving them to public entities, who would then deliver the money to the Raiders through back-door 'loans.'" 49ers President Carmen Policy told the MERCURY NEWS that the NFL also wants a piece of the Coliseum Commission's half-share of club seating and PSL fees, which officials estimate will bring $7M a year to Oakland and Alameda County. East Bay officials were "shocked" at the league's directive and said "there was no more money to give" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/22). Davis will not have to pay the league a relocation fee for the move, as league officials say he has met the guidelines for relocation since Oakland is not a prime NFL expansion site. In Chicago, Don Pierson writes that Davis figures any remaining problems the NFL has will be "essentially between the league and the Oakland Coliseum" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/22). NINERS NOT HAPPY: In San Francisco, Glenn Dickey reports that Policy "was angered" at Davis' actions and that he left the meeting without voting. Dickey notes that Policy said the 49ers would have abstained, just as they did when the Raiders moved to L.A. (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/22). In L.A., columnist Mike Penner asks, "Whatever happened to territorial infringement? ... The Raiders are sidling up next to the 49ers, ready to lob Molotov cocktails over the bridge, and the 49ers get nothing. Maybe the league thinks the 49ers have enough already" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23). REAX: Columnists around the country were critical of the NFL for allowing Davis to move without charging him any relocation fee. In Boston, Will McDonough called the vote "the Theatre of the Absurd," and a "farce." McDonough: "Even though Davis said he would not pay the league the money it had commanded, the owners still voted in favor. Why? Because they didn't have the guts to take Davis on in court again" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/23). Penner: "The NFL (which, as you know, stands for Not For the Lion-hearted) votes to approve the Raiders move, 23- 0, without charging Al Davis a dime in relocation money, and is expected to cave in on the PSL issue at any second" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23).