In a short interview, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie verbalized what this move to Las Vegas means to him.
“Mark has been adamant about getting us a stadium and wanting it to be in Oakland but when that did not seem possible, he had to go outside.” -Raiders’ Reggie McKenzie
While parts of this statement may seem debatable; it’s clear McKenzie must compartmentalize his own feelings while forging ahead, towing the company line.
To a low-key-the-scenes kind of guy, the topic of relocation was an unnecessary distraction. McKenzie’s mirrored head coach Jack Del Rio in his approach to dealing with it by focusing only on what you can control.
“It’s like a sigh of relief that it’s over but dang the finality kinda hits. . .”It’s like man I’mma miss Oakland stuff like that . . . that part of it is tough.” -Raiders’ Reggie McKenzie on the finalization of this outcome
Few of us are qualified to dive into a man’s psyche in search of answers he chooses not to give but allow me to go on a limb and assume McKenzie was not in favor of the move. Oakland is a place like no other, providing a home-field advantage second-to-none.
The Raiders are more than just a football team to the city of Oakland. After a lengthy playing career here and the buzz generated in part due to his front office successes; Oakland has grown on McKenzie and contrary to popular belief, the Raider Nation is a fanbase built on love.
McKenzie didn’t earn the 2016 award for NFL Executive of the Year by not being able to see the bigger picture. A state-of-the-art stadium was the next step in the evolution of this franchise. A need which was not lost on McKenzie:
“the excitement of moving forward and getting a new stadium and what that can bring. . .”
This stadium relocation saga brought out the worst in everyone as it turned a fanbase against each other and continues to alienate a team from it’s supporters. It also forces employees to relocate whether they’d like to or not. McKenzie may be the general manager of the Oakland Raiders but his heart falls with the people as he left us with this message.
“It is bittersweet but I’m going to enjoy everyday that I’m in Oakland though that’s for sure.” -Raiders’ Reggie McKenzie