Oakland Raiders fans were crushed when their beloved team moved to Los Angeles in 1982. In fact many of them did not return to the Coliseum when the team came back 12 years later. Now the threat of the team possibly going back to Southern California again is creating anxiety for Raider Nation as Los Angeles makes a bid to attract an NFL Team.
A second departure would all but destroy the spirits of its fans, said Ray Perez, 25, better known as "Dr. Death" when he's at Raiders games at O.co coliseum.
"That's the equivalent of your wife cheating on you with another man and coming back saying 'would you take me back?' he said. "Not many people would do that and to leave again you might as well consider your spouse dead."
Los Angeles wants an NFL team to go along with its proposed 75,000-seat stadium in Industry City, and the Raiders are said to be one of three teams in a position to move as soon as next year when their lease at O.co stadium ends.
Feeling impotent over the situation, Perez started a Change.org petition asking the team owner Mark Davis not to move the team to Los Angeles. The symbolic gesture has already gathered some 6,700 signatures, and Perez intends to gather 49,000 more.
"I am hoping that in a way it puts some pressure on him," he said.
Perez said he hopes that the campaign will convince team Owner Mark Davis that there are enough fans out there that want to keep the team in Oakland. For his part, Davis has said he would like the team to stay in Oakland, but won't commit to signing a short-term lease with the Coliseum unless there is an agreement for a new stadium in place. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority is currently exploring the possibility of building a new 56,500-seat stadium at the same site, but there are plenty of questions about how to finance the project.
Perez is not stopping with the campaign. Dressed in his raiders regalia, which includes a knife mohawk on a helment, black-and-silver face paint and a stripped slacks, He has taken two trips from Sacramento to Oakland during the weekday to make his presence known at the Coliseum authority meetings.
"Behind this face paint and the knives on my head, I'm a 25-year-old college student that works part time at a restaurant," he told the commissioner last month.
Believe it or not, Perez, who has been a lifelong raiders fans and a season ticket holder, says he has a lot to lose if his team bails. "Our livelihoods are at stake," he said. "This petition is our only weapon."
If you want the Raiders to stay in Oakland, put your John Hancock here.