After an eventful offseason that kept much of their fan base on their toes, Mark Davis and the Oakland Raiders received an unexpected 31-1 vote in favor of their relocation to Las Vegas on Monday. The ongoing relocation situation between Davis, the city of Oakland and the city of Las Vegas took headlines throughout the offseason, with the realization now somewhat officially settling in.
When the decision became official, the city of Oakland was left to deal with the fact that their beloved franchise would be heading towards the entertainment capital of the world. A few players, including Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, responded to the approved decision with mixed emotions.
Some Raiders legends decided to let the events unfold before stating their opinion on the matter. ESPN NFL analyst and Raiders legend Charles Woodson has always been a central figure in the heart of Oakland fans, while also bridging the transition to Carr and Mack. When Woodson was asked about his feeling towards the city of Oakland, he stated that he understands the pain the city if currently feeling, via The Rich Eisen Show’s YouTube account:
“Knowing that fan base, as well as I do, this stings like no other and I understand,” Woodson said. “These are diehard Raiders fans. They bleed Silver and Black. For that team to pack up and move, the fans are devastated.”
Although the city of Oakland now knows their faith is sealed, they still have two years to witness the Raiders and their quest to win a championship. The Raiders have two seasons remaining on their lease agreement with the Oakland Coliseum, with the Las Vegas Stadium scheduled to be complete by the 2020 season.
That does leave a gap year between the end of the Coliseum lease and the Las Vegas Stadium completion, but Oakland Coliseum members have already hinted that they don’t want the organization to return during the 2019 season.
Woodson and his rather neutral approach to the matter stemmed from his background with the organization, saying he understands the fans after spending 11 seasons wearing the silver and black. The nine-time Pro Bowler also played an optimistic card with Oakland during the interview, confident that the city will ultimately follow their team during the transition:
“But the one thing I do know about Oakland fans is that it doesn’t really matter where they are in my opinion. I still feel like there’s going to be diehard Raiders fans. It’s in their blood, it’s in their DNA.”
General manager Reggie McKenzie stated his opinion on the matter, valuing whatever time left he had in the city of Oakland. Some Raiders starts of the past, like Ronnie Lott, headlined the proposal to stay in Oakland, making it clear that they believe the Raiders belong to Oakland.
Woodson’s comments do seem rather early in the healing process, with many Oakland fans recently stating their disapproval of the decision. Mayor Libby Schaaf organized many public meetings towards keeping the team, with many fans in attendance not ready to see their beloved franchise leave.