NAPA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis, who unleashed on his RingCentral Coliseum co-tenants, MLB’s Oakland Athletics, in a Thursday afternoon story in The Athletic, clarified his statements to ESPN late Thursday night.
“I am not sorry for the things I said,” Davis said in a phone call. “But I am sorry for the way I said them.”
Davis had told The Athletic that the Raiders loved the A’s as players and as a team, but that “the front office has been real p—ks.”
“They’ve been really f—ing around with us up there, taking advantage of the situation,” Davis was quoted in the story. “Which, it is their right to do it, but it makes it hard. Again, though, we love the players, we love the A’s.”
The cause of Davis’ ire? The Raiders, entering what is supposed to be their final season in Oakland, open exhibition play Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams, and they are angered over a new Coliseum configuration created by the A’s last winter that displaced 2,500 Raiders season-ticket holders.
The Raiders’ Coliseum lease had expired with the end of the 2018 season and the team was exploring playing in other stadiums, including the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park and the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, in 2019. With the Raiders having no legal right to the Coliseum, and the A’s in a 10-year lease extension signed in 2014, the Baseball team tore out several sections of seats around the Coliseum to make the areas more spacious for its fans, complete with drink rails that created 250 obstructed view seats for football.
So by the time the Raiders had come to an agreement to return to the Coliseum for 2019 on a $7.5 million lease — and possibly 2020 for $10.5 million, should the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas not be ready — the A’s renovation had already occurred.
As such, the Raiders moved those 2,500 season-ticket holders to seats of equal or better value, Davis said, as the team took premium seats from employees and gave them to the displaced fans.
A year earlier, when the Raiders did have a lease with the Coliseum, the football team said it lost about 300 permanent seats (which were replaced by 200 folding chairs) when the A’s built their fan-centric “Treehouse” attraction above what is left field for Baseball, the north end zone corner for football, without the Raiders’ permission.
And while the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, the A’s have their sights set on building a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland’s Jack London Square.
The Raiders and the NFL were hit with a federal lawsuit by the city of Oakland in December in reaction to the team’s pending move. And when asked by The Athletic about a coNFLict between the city of Oakland and Alameda County selling the land on which the Coliseum sits to the A’s, Davis unloaded.
“They’re f—ing totally dysfunctional,” Davis told The Athletic. “It’s that f—ing bad over there.”
The Raiders, who formerly received funds from stadium naming rights in Oakland, and thus paid minimal rent, had their rent more than tripled in 2016, from $925,000 to $3.5 million, after the team lost a vote to move to Los Angeles. A year later, the Raiders won the right to move to Las Vegas.