The mayor of Richmond, Calif. Is prompting more than just a chuckle or two with his “announcement” that the Oakland Raiders would be relocating to his city.
In a lengthy and rather detailed dissertation, Mayor Tom Butt (yes, that’s his real name) announced in the Richmond Standard on Friday that the Raiders would be moving out of Oakland to a new stadium to be built on space occupied by what is now Richmond’s Hilltop Mall.
The mayor “revealed” the stunning development on Friday, April Fools’ Day. And it was, depending how you look at it, a funny, cruel or just thought-provoking joke.
But you couldn’t place too much blame on those who were duped for being taken in by the mayor’s trickery, at least initially, because the Raiders have long been looking for a new home. Though the team agreed to a deal in February to stay in Oakland for at least another year, the supposed new stadium in Richmond wouldn’t be ready until 2019.
And, according to the mayor, the mall, a shopping center he described as an “obsolete business model that no longer works commercially,” would be an ideal spot for the supposed new stadium.
“It’s been no secret that Hilltop Mall has been on the auction block,” the mayor wrote. “We just weren’t expecting it to go so soon, but apparently it’s been in the works for some time.”
To add realism to his mischievous missive, Butt even added supposed quotes from Raiders owner Mark Davis, BART Director Zachery Mallet, Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay and others.
“With its reputation as a rough and ready refinery town, Richmond is now the appropriate home of Raider Nation,” Davis supposedly said. Davis also “added” that the team would be called the Richmond Raiders.
Some readers of the mayor’s message knew right away it was a joke, some weren’t so sure, others seemed to have been duped, while for some desperate to see the Raiders stay in the area, it provided a ray of hope.
“Wow, you just broke my heart,” wrote one person in the Standard’s comments section.
“It still could still be a good idea” wrote another. “Have you made them an offer. They just might run with it.”
As for the mayor, who has a reputation his April Fools Day trickery, he seemed rather proud his 1,000 word prank was trending on Facebook, while also trolling for a buyer for the mall.
“I’m glad to see people got a good laugh,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “On a more serious note, the Hilltop Mall is up for sale. Any interested buyers? How about it The Oakland Raiders?”