STATELINE, Nev. — Marcus Allen doesn’t like to stir the pot. He’s not a person who loves controversy. So when remarks that he made to NBC Sports about moving the Raiders to Los Angeles caused some controversy Friday, he didn’t understand what the big deal was.
"I’d rather see — I know people in Oakland won’t like this — the team back in Los Angeles," he told NBCSN prior to teeing off in the first round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Friday afternoon. "I think it’s a viable option… We can’t have them back at the (Los Angeles) Coliseum, the Coliseum now is USC’s home… But there’s some locations there that I know I’ve talked to a few owners (about) and I know that they’ve liked. I can’t divulge my sources though."
By the time he was done with his round, he was shocked to hear that his comments caused an uproar. With both the Raiders and the A’s embroiled in a battle with the city of Oakland over the lease of the O.co Coliseum, a reporter asked the Hall of Fame running back if sharing the new Levi’s Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers would be a viable option.
The Raiders, he said, are proud and iconic and deserve their own stadium. But he doesn’t feel that’s the message that was conveyed.
"A simple question: Would you want to share a stadium? Who wants to share a stadium? I don’t think the Raiders are an organization that would want to share a stadium."
Allen is from Southern California, born and raised. He’s proud to have been a centerpiece for two L.A. football teams and feels deeply rooted in the town’s sports history.
Los Angeles, Chicago finalists to host 2015 NFL Draft READ MORE
"You’ve got to understand, I was an original draft choice of the Los Angeles Raiders. With all due respect for those who were in Oakland, that’s what I know," he said. "It’s not a vote against Oakland, it’s just a vote for Los Angeles because that was my experience there. A lot of people want to take things the wrong way and not really sort of look at it and say, ‘I understand where he’s coming from. His career was in Los Angeles with the Raiders, they built something special.’ So that’s really what it is."
Two years ago, Allen was asked to come back to Oakland and light the torch for late owner Al Davis. Many like to remember the conflict between the two that led him to play out the final years of his career in Kansas City, but Allen has long since put that behind him. He was touched by the gesture and honored with the task. He’s become the organization’s biggest cheerleader and counts current owner Mark Davis as a friend.
Allen only wants to see the tradition restored to the storied football team. He feels that they are trending in the right direction and is encouraged by the culture change. He hasn’t forgotten about all of the tradition in L.A.
"It’s incredible to me that the second-largest market in the country doesn’t have a team," he said. "It’s just mind-boggling."