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#pounditFriday, October 7, 2022

NFL owners concerned with Raiders-gang connections in LA

Raiders fans

The Oakland Raiders are the odd team out for now in the race to move to Los Angeles, and it sounds like that is something pleasing to the NFL owners.

Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. have a feature in ESPN the Magazine that takes an in-depth look at the process that led to the Rams being approved by the league to move back to LA. The piece goes into detail discussing the struggle between the two sides of the proposal: Stan Kroenke and his Inglewood project against the Chargers and Raiders’ joint project in Carson.

Kroenke’s proposal won, with the Chargers being given the option to join the Rams in LA. The Raiders were left out for now.

According to Wickersham and Van Natta’s story, the owners wanted to avoid the Raiders returning to LA for a few reasons:

Most owners wanted to avoid a Raiders return to Los Angeles, owing to Al Davis’ burned bridges and the co-opting of the team apparel by gangs, concerns so deep that some wouldn’t even consider Carson.

The Raiders have long embraced their outlaw image, which goes back to when Davis appeared as a witness for the USFL in their anti-trust case against the NFL. Many gangs in Los Angeles and elsewhere have identified with the Raiders and adopted the team’s colors and logos as their own.

Actor and rapper Ice Cube even starred in an ESPN 30 for 30 program called “Straight Outta LA” that examined the relationship between the Raiders and the rap culture in Los Angeles. In a separate interview, he said the team had gangsters for fans well before the rap scene supported the team.

“Raiders fans were gangsters way before we came into the picture,” Ice Cube said in an interview with KNBR. “We (NWA) came out in 1989; the Raiders had done a lot of damage, as far as leaning towards the outlaw mentality way before we came along. I can’t say we turned the Raider fans into gangsters, they were already dangerous.”

This jibes with a previous report that said Kroenke didn’t want the Raiders with him in Inglewood because he was concerned their fan base would bring down the high-class shopping and environment surrounding the stadium. It’s not as if these concerns do not have any merit; remember when this LA sports bar banned Raiders fans because they were causing too much trouble?

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