OAKLAND — Hours before the Golden State Warriors closed out the NBA Finals, civic pride was in the air as a few dozen people gathered at the steps of Oakland City Hall.
But this wasn’t a joyous meeting — it was about the Oakland Raiders leaving for Las Vegas.
Local fan groups had retained the two foremost antitrust attorneys in America — Jim Quinn and Eric Hochstadt — as they pursued a “sophisticated approach” to keep the team, as We Stand With Oakland spokesperson Raymond Bobbitt phrased it.
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Quinn’s considerable legacy has been built on playing the adversary to the NFL. The attorney responsible for free agency in the sport, Quinn said he’s had a lot of fun going against the “rough and tumble” billionaire owners of a league that sometimes operates as a cartel, according to decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
As the attorneys and a group of fans assembled in front of cameras and waited for straggling members of the media, it was clear the point of this news conference was to send a message. But what was it and whom was it for?
“We’re sending a message to the people of Oakland that there are groups here that care deeply about NFL football and the Raiders,” Quinn later explained in a meeting with the San Francisco Examiner in a back room of city hall. “The message, too, is directed at the league and the current ownership of the Raiders that perhaps they ought to rethink what they’ve done.
“Let’s see whether or not going forward there’s a way to make everybody happy,” said the man who built his…
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