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The Godfather Speaks
Al Davis has laid another seed of mistrust. The Raiders owner was typically evasive when asked if his beleaguered franchise would honor the remaining 13 years of its lease to play at the Oakland Coliseum. "You want to take the president off the front pages tomorrow," don't you?" Davis responded to a reporter's question. "I'm sure Monica (Lewinsky) wants me to do that."

Gentle Al created a stir with the media during Jon Gruden's first news conference as Raiders head coach on Jan. 27. One week earlier, Los Angeles councilman Nate Holden announced that the Raiders' return to Smogville was "imminent." Holden predicted the Raiders would win a separate lawsuit against the NFL giving them territorial rights to the L.A. market, and that legal victory would initiate the process for the team to come south again. Da Silver and Bleak was based in LA-LA-LAND for 13 years before returning to Oakland in 1995.

Said Davis about Holden: "His credibility cannot be questioned because he's a bright guy."

The Raiders are feuding with Oakland and Alameda County officials over $130 million in renovations for the Oakland Coliseum. Fearing the franchise could relocate to Los Angeles, the city and county sued the Raiders last September. "When you are sued by your own city," Davis said, "it causes great concern by those who are sued." The Raiders have until Feb. 6 to respond to the county/city suit.

After the suit was filed, team officials claimed the 16-year lease was invalid because of fradulent misrepresentations regarding promises of sellouts at the Coliseum. Only four of the Raiders' last 20 home games attracted capacity crowds. Until the Raiders have a winning team and/or ticket prices are lowered, there will be plenty of empty seats in the Oakland Mausoleum.

No doubt, the latest legal entanglement between Uncle Al and the county/city is sure to promote those already bulging PSL sales. Stay tuned.

Published: 1-31-98


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