Monday, April 14, 2003

He's won more lawsuits than Super Bowls

Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is back in court today, this time blaming local government officials for his lack of attendance. Davis is trying to sue his way out of his lease at the Oakland Coliseum (which runs through 2010) on the grounds that the city "promised" him a full house for every home game. Unfortunately, the team's lackluster record in the 1990s made things difficult. Nevertheless, Davis feels that he's the victim.

This is hardly a new act for Davis. He left Oakland in the early 1980s for Los Angeles and—following an antitrust suit against the NFL—proceeded to run the team into stagnation at the massive Los Angeles Coliseum. When Davis couldn't secure a new taxpayer-financed stadium, Davis bolted back to Oakland for his current lease. On top of that, he sued the NFL again, claiming he still maintained "territorial rights" to Los Angeles, a claim which is still being litigated.

The only thing worse than a politician who throws tax dollars at sports owners are the owners who feel entitled to such funds. This is not "capitalism," but another form of wealth redistribution. And should Davis win—and he's seeking $1.2 billion in damages for "lost revenue"—the taxpayers will end up footing the entire bill.

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