The Raiders Shouldn’t Move to San Diego

Photo: The Mercury News

In short time, San Diegans went from being distraught about the exit of their beloved Chargers to being hopeful the Raiders might settle down in San Diego instead of Las Vegas. Fueled by San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa’s self-serving fantasy to once again have a football team to write about and other sports commentators’ pronouncements that a move from Oakland to San Diego could be a feasible option, Chargers fans seem to have forgotten — or simply don’t care — that by asking the Raiders to leave Oakland, they are wishing upon Oaklanders the same pain they felt when Dean Spanos gave Charger Nation a merciless, “Sayonara!”

The irony is appalling.

San Diego has one of the most robust and passionate fan bases in the state, and when Spanos announced that he was closing up shop and heading to Los Angeles with his team, Chargers fans were furious — and rightfully so.

How could a man, citing financial roadblocks, take away a team that a whole city rallied behind for 56 years? Could money truly outweigh loyalty, fanaticism, even, love? These were valid questions when the Chargers were heading out the door, but now that San Diego is without a team, money is the main argument sports pundits are using to bring the Raiders south, with Canepa writing in a recent column that the situation in Oakland is “untenable.”

Nobody won when the Chargers left San Diego, not even Los Angeles, whose knowledge of the Chargers goes no further than electronic accessories you plug into the wall when your phone dies. Bringing the Raiders, a team worshipped by its fans to an extent San Diegans can not fathom, would render a similar situation, making calls for owner Mark Davis to take his team away from a city that has built an entire culture around the Raiders not only selfish, but just plain wrong.

Not to mention, any request for the Raiders to leave is in direct opposition to well-intentioned efforts on behalf of the City of Oakland to keep its team at bay. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is working with former Los Angeles Raider and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott on a plan to keep the Raiders in Oakland, and although talks are ongoing, progress is being made after Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, thwarted plans for a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas by backing out on his $650 million stake.

Lott’s plan would finance the $1.3 billion Coliseum development with $200 million from the city, $200 million from the NFL, $300 million from the Raiders and the rest from Lott’s investment group, the Fortress Investment Group. Keeping the “Oakland” in the Oakland Raiders is by no means off the table.

From an idealist point of view, money wouldn’t outweigh fans’ love for their team, but if we’ve learned anything from the Chargers move to Los Angeles, it’s that it does. Even when you set aside the singular passion Oaklanders have for the Raiders and the irreparable hurt that would be inflicted on them if the team were to move to San Diego, Schaaf and Lott are making a good case for the Raiders to stay where they are, which is the course of action San Diegans should be rooting for with the most enthusiasm.

San Diego has witnessed first-hand the ugly aftermath that ensues when a deeply loved football team leaves the city that bears its name. Why, then, are San Diegans wishing the same fate upon Oakland Raiders fans? Raider Nation was rooting for you, San Diego, when the situation here became untenable, to use the language of Mr. Canepa.

It’s easy to see: The Raiders should stay in Oakland.