Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has issued a statement in response to Matier & Ross’s San Francisco Chronicle column yesterday about two former NFL players seeking to invest in a new Raiders stadium:
Today’s San Francisco Chronicle contains inaccurate information I need to clarify. On May 23, I proactively contacted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to update him generally on what we’ve felt have been productive conversations with Raiders’ negotiator Larry MacNeil.
Having learned from what I believe was a past mistake of awarding an exclusive negotiating agreement to a developer not approved by the Raiders, I wanted to assure the Commissioner of my commitment to keeping the Raiders and NFL at the center of our efforts.
I did express to the Commissioner my interest in continuing discussions with the Ronnie Lott/Rodney Peete group and asked how the Commissioner would view my taking more meetings with them.
The Commissioner encouraged me to explore all avenues for partnership that might result in a successful project for Oakland, the Raiders and the NFL, assuming we not give away any rights without clear Raiders’ support. That is my intention in resuming discussions with them.
I continue to believe the Raiders can develop a new stadium in Oakland that is responsible to the team, its fans, the NFL and the taxpayers of Oakland. Oakland has worked hard to contribute the entitlements, development opportunities and infrastructure funding to our shared vision of a stadium-centered development at the Oakland Coliseum. I’m committed to continuing to work hard to realize this vision.
That’s a lot of words to say, “Hey, Roger Goodell didn’t tell me to meet with Lott and Peete, I told him that I was meeting with him.” Which, fine, spin, whatever, but it doesn’t actually say much about whether the Lott/Peete plan, which seems to involve putting cash into a stadium proposal in exchange for equity in the team, has any legs. That bit about “assuming we not give away any rights without clear Raiders’ support” seems to indicate that Lott and Peete haven’t actually talked to Raiders owner Mark Davis about their plan, and since Davis is the one who’d be actually giving something up — he’d have to hand over more than a quarter of the team stock to get $400 million in stadium funds — he’s the one who matters here. (As I’ve noted before, if Davis wanted to build an Oakland stadium by selling off a chunk of his team, he wouldn’t necessarily need Lott and Peete to do it.)
For now, I’m filing this under “due diligence” by Schaaf and Lott and Peete and even Goodell, while Davis awaits word on whether Las Vegas will gift him and his billionaire development partner who wants to buy the presidency with around a billion dollars in public subsidies in order to play there. Hey, there’s another benefit to Goodell of endorsing the Lott/Peete plan: Not only does it make him look good for encouraging African-American ownership and for trying to keep the Raiders in Oakland, it helps one of his team owners leverage more money out of Vegas by making it look like there’s a viable alternative! These sports barons, they see all the angles, don’t they?