Oakland’s lawsuit against NFL gets a second Hail Mary attempt; Councilman wants to ‘apply’ for a team

The construction of a nearly $2 billion football stadium in Las Vegas for the Oakland Raiders hit a snag earlier this year when the trusses for its roof did not properly fit. Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the city of Oakland last December to keep the team’s iconic logo and colors in the East Bay is built on a seriously flawed foundation, a federal judge said last Friday.

U.S. District Court Judge Jospeh Spero gave attorneys 45 days to reconfigure its argument that the team’s move to Las Vegas is a violation of anti-trust law. Despite the reprieve, the case appears to be a re-do for what was already akin to a 80-yard Hail Mary attempt with the game clock near nearing triple-zeroes.

The lawsuit grew out of a local grassroots effort to sue the National Football League and the Raiders for failing to properly follow its bylaws when relocating franchises. Attorneys argued that because of exorbitant relocation fees paid to NFL owners, they had an incentive to allow moves such as the Raiders’ bid for Las Vegas.

The legal strategy managed to gather support from a number of high-profile local officials, including Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo.

Although the team is scheduled to move to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season, the lawsuit is focused on replicating Cleveland’s successful complaint in the late 1990s to keep the Browns’ name, colors, and history book in Ohio. The Cleveland franchise moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. Cleveland received an expansion team in 1999 that became the new Browns.

Judge Spero, in his 45-minute remarks, also questioned why the lawsuit would seek the Raiders logo and colors when there has been no attempt by the city to seek either an NFL expansion franchise or entice an existing franchise to Oakland.

Councimember Gallo told NBC Bay Area that he will begin researching how to apply for a NFL team.