Los Angeles Raiders Fans Rally Despite NFL Announcement
Raider fans rally in Downtown Los Angeles to supper the team’s return to the city. 12/20/2014. Photo Credit: Matthew Lorscheider
Raider fans rallied in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon to call for the Raiders to return to Los Angeles, despite Roger Goodell’s announcement today that no NFL team would be moving to Los Angeles for the 2015 season.
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The event, organized on Facebook by the administrators of a page called “Bring Back the Los Angeles Raiders 2015,” was well attended by fans, who chanted various slogans, held signs and banners, and made their presence known near the Staples Center, where the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings were playing the Arizona Coyotes. Organizers timed the rally to coincide with ESPN’s SportsCenter broadcast from Los Angeles, and the initial rally site was located with a view of ESPN’s LA-area offices.
A sign held by fans in attendance at a Raider rally in Downtown Los Angeles on 12/20/2014. Photo Credit: Matthew Lorscheider
Organizers then led a march across the street to a location along Chick Hearn Court located directly in front of Staples Center, where the demonstration was caught by Fox Sports cameras who were there to cover the hockey game. Organizers and Raider fans conducted interviews with local LA television stations, including LA’s ABC affiliate, who included the rally in a segment about Roger Goodell’s announcement in their 5 PM news broadcast.
The event was well-attended and was also well-supported by passers-by, including the Los Angeles Fire Department and Los Angeles Police Department. Organizers emphasized the presence of children and families as evidence that Raider fans in Los Angeles are not “gangsters and thugs” and the rally was a mostly family-friendly event and incident-free.
Raider fans gather along Chick Hearn Court in Downtown Los Angeles to rally in support of the team’s relocation back to the city. 12/20/2014. Photo Credit: Matthew Lorscheider
Fans in attendance were well aware of Goodell’s announcement but didn’t appear to have their spirits dampened at all. While the general attitude was that fans would support the Raiders no matter where the stadium were located, at one point the crowd did sustain a very loud chant for Farmer’s Field, the AEG-proposed stadium that would be located in Downtown LA, near the site of the rally.
While Goodell’s announcement seems to sink any relocation to Los Angeles in 2015, the door is still open for the Raiders, as well as the Chargers and Rams, for 2016, should the NFL find a stadium site that the league wants. Many fans in Los Angeles – Raider fans and non-Raider fans alike – feel that Goodell and the owners are holding Los Angeles hostage, and fans at Saturday’s rally were vociferously anti-Goodell throughout the event.