Shortly after the NFL’s 32 owners ratified the Oakland Raiders’s proposed relocation to Las Vegas at the annual league meeting in Phoenix on Monday, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr issued an emotional message to fans in which he acknowledged he wasn’t sure how to feel about the news.
“As I sit here and see a vote that takes the Raiders to Las Vegas, I am overwhelmed with emotion,” Carr began. “I don’t know how we should feel. I feel the pain of our fans in Oakland. I also see the joy on the faces of our new fans in Las Vegas. As players, we will show up and give everything we have. We will compete and we will do our best to bring a championship to the entire Raider Nation.”
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) March 27, 2017
Carr and the Raiders will remain in Oakland in 2017 and 2018 while a new stadium is built in Las Vegas.
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
It hasn’t been easy to be a fan of the Oakland Raiders over the years. Monday’s 31-1 vote ensured the franchise will leave the city for a second time. The Raiders departed for Los Angeles after the 1981 season before returning in 1995. They qualified for the playoffs only three times over their next 21 seasons in Oakland before Carr helped the franchise snap a 13-year postseason drought with a wild-card berth in 2016.
Later in his statement, Carr said he would have loved to play his entire career in Oakland, but he “understands the business side of the NFL.”
“Oakland, our team loves you, and my family and I love you!” Carr continued. “WE will be resilient and WE will stay together because that’s what true Raiders do. WE are loyal, even when it’s hard. WE stick together, especially when it’s tough. So Las Vegas, you can count on us bringing a piece of Oakland with us and you are getting a tough, loyal, and competitive fan base and team. When the time comes, I hope you are ready. For now, it’s about 2017 and our diehards in Oakland. God bless & Go Raiders!”
Raiders Linebacker Khalil Mack also reacted to Monday’s news on Twitter.