Raiders’ prep donation drawing mostly silence
Mystery of the Month: Did the Raiders chop-block the other Bay Area pro sports teams with an act of shameless grandstanding?
That’s the way The Chronicle’s Matier & Ross presented the situation last week, and I have found no evidence to overturn their judgment.
The deal: The Oakland school district bungled its way to a large budget shortfall, forcing the death of several high school sports. The 49ers were ready to step up with a donation, per M&R, but they first reached out to other Bay Area teams with the idea of making a group donation.
A joint announcement was scheduled for Aug. 29, but the Raiders announced their own $250,000 donation the night before.
Grandstanding? Bigfooting? I did find this: It’s a very sensitive topic. The Raiders’ announcement left the impression that the other teams then backed out of their planned donations.
It would seem an easy matter for those other teams to say they either did or did not donate to the Oakland schools. Instead, I got a variety of nonresponses and tap-dancing.
Only the Warriors went on the record. Team president Rick Welts did so reluctantly, stressing his team is not looking for kudos.
Said Welts, “I believe we have committed — past, present and future — more financial gifts and programming to Oakland not-for-profits and schools than any team, and will continue to do so in the future when we play in San Francisco.”
It’s tricky territory. All teams donate to charities. I have no idea how the various Bay Area teams stack up on the donation power rankings. Besides, the Oakland schools situation is just one of many crisis hot spots in need of a bailout. The pro teams can’t help ’em all.
But if the Raiders did stage a grandstand play, that would be cringe-worthy. Why would they do such a thing? To boost their stock in the face of increasing Oakland fan ire about the move to Las Vegas? Because they are the Raiders and feel like nobody loves them, so they’re looking for a little Aretha?
Regardless, the Raiders’ donation goes to a good cause — assuming the same schooldistrict bunglers don’t spend that money on a pizza party for themselves.
And it’s the least the Raiders could do after leaving Oakland on the hook for the remainder of payments on Mount Monstrosity.
One thing seems clear: Bay Area sports teams are not one big happy family.