In a Phoenix hotel ballroom full of NFL owners voting yes, there was one dissenting opinion.
He then made clear as to why.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was the lone “nay” cast on the Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas. That move was approved, the Raiders joining the likes of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys to take up Vegas residency.
The physical move itself, despite Ross’s vote, is expected as early as 2019.
“My position today was that we as owners and as a League owe it to fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted,” Ross said in a statement, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “I want to wish Mark Davis and the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas.”
There has been a lot of relocation of late.
The Raiders became the second franchise to move in 75 days; Chargers owner Dean Spanos exercised his option to vacate San Diego for Los Angeles on Jan. 12. Less than 15 months ago, on Jan. 12, NFL owners voted in Houston to clear Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s move from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
The Rams and Chargers will share a stadium in Inglewood. It is currently scheduled to open in 2019.
“I believe when you own a team, you’re a steward for the city,” Ross told reporters on Monday. “It’s like owning a utility company. And I just don’t think everything was done to try and stay in Oakland. … If the owner had been more proactive — you can only make a deal when the owner wants to make a deal. Who are you going to negotiate with? How is it going to happen? There’s got to be a driving force.”
A reminder to Ross’s position on relocation came from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He tweeted Ross “spent $500M+ in private funds to renovate a stadium,” effectively keeping the Dolphins in Miami for decades to come.
Ross said, when asked, that he took no personal satisfaction from casting the only opposing vote Monday on the Raiders’ relocation.
“I voted how I voted, and I voted what I believed,” Ross said. “You talk about the fans, and that’s what the National Football League is all about. … You’ve got to look around. There’s very little public money available for teams today. And if you own a team, you should have the deep pockets to deliver.
“You need some public money for infrastructure and things like that. But with the costs of stadiums today, our country can’t afford to really put all of the money in that kind of place.”