OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – During a Friday court hearing on Oakland’s antitrust lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL, a judge gave city attorneys 45 days to amend what he called their imprecise and “loosey goosey” claims that the league violated antitrust laws.
He also said he was “skeptical” of the City’s other claims for breach of contract.
The suit was filed late last year over the team’s planned move to Las Vegas.
According to the federal lawsuit, the team and the entire NFL violated antitrust laws by voting to approve the Raiders move to Las Vegas and boycotting Oakland as a host city. But because antitrust laws are meant to preserve competition, and in this case, the team went to Las Vegas because they could get a better deal, which looks a lot like normal, legal competition.
“Why is it anti-competitive to allow teams to do what they want?” Judge Spero asked rhetorically.
The only the way the City can pursue antitrust claims is if it shows that, without the NFL’s 32-team cap, Oakland would still have a football team. The suit additionally claims that the Raiders’ move violated the NFL’s own policies for team relocation.
The judge said he was skeptical that Oakland can sue over that, since the city is not part of the NFL.
In addition to making changes to the antitrust claims, the City has to amend the Complaint to show that the NFL’s policies were made for the benefit of cities. Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker issued a statement saying, “We are confident that we can file an amended complaint that will address the issues raised by the court.”
“They weren’t honest and truthful with the city of Oakland when it came to negotiations to stay and continue to be in Oakland,” said Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo.
Oakland is not suing to keep the team, which is set to begin its final season at the Oakland Coliseum before the move to Las Vegas. Instead, the City wants to recover tax revenues from the team that would be lost after the move.
The suit came close to derailing plans for the Raiders to play the 2019-2020 season in Oakland, but the team, the city and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors eventually reached an agreement to extend the team’s lease at the Coliseum last March.
Several fans came to the courthouse this morning to express their desire to keep the Raiders name in Oakland.
“What that name means, it brings the most diverse culture together as one, under a blanket with no prejudice, and it exemplifies how we live and how we think,” said Griz Jones with the Raiders fan organization Forever Oakland.
KPIX 5 reached out to Raiders team officials for comment Friday, but have not heard back.