Amy Trask thinks the Raiders should throw their fans a big party on Christmas Eve.
Here's a better idea. Throw it a year from now.
Lawsuit or no lawsuit, Raiders owner Mark Davis should come out and express his intent to play at Coliseum in 2019. Do it this week before the Raiders' home finale against Denver on Monday night.
Reward a fan base that did not expect or deserve the 3-11 product that started with a skunk in the bowels of the Coliseum in Week 1 and then took it on the chin 30-16 Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Davis admitted at the owner's meetings in Dallas he was considering it, even as the club was rescinding an offer of $7.5 million in rent for the 2019 season.
Consider the alternatives. Levi's Stadium as a 49ers tenant? A weekly road show such as San Diego with the Raiders almost assuredly keeping Alameda as their home base? A hastily upgraded college site such as Fresno State or the University of Nevada? (Quarterback Derek Carr floated the Fresno State idea to CBS announcers during his production meeting Saturday).
Those options all but extend a middle finger to the Oakland-East Bay fans who have showered the Raiders with more loyalty than they had any right to expect. The fans have nothing to do with the lawsuit.
After what Davis has given his paying customers this season, he should reluctantly embrace the awkward idea of playing in a city that is filing an anti-trust lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL over the move to Las Vegas scheduled for 2020.
Trask, the former Raiders CEO, is no doubt sincere in her love for Raiders fans. In her job as a CBS analyst, she opened her segment pushing for the Raiders to stay put in 2019. It also provided the ancillary benefit of tweaking the man who forced her out by saying Davis should open up his pocketbook for the Christmas Eve game against Denver.
She advocated having the Raiders fund a pregame parking lot concert with local artists such as Hammer, Too Short and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. Have Raiders legends meet and greet fans in the parking lot. Allow fans to come to the field following the game to mix and mingle with players.
Oh, and free concessions. Presumably, Trask wasn't talking about beer.
"It's going to cost a lot of money to do that," Trask said. "Spend it. Spend it on those fans."
Davis, of course, won't do anything of the sort, and arranging such a bash on Christmas Eve is easier said than done. It's far more likely the game and the week leading up to it will continue under a shroud of uncertainty regarding next year's home field. Kind of like when the Raiders lost to the Chicago Bears in the last game of the 1981 season and people still weren't sure if Al Davis would be allowed to actually leave town for Los Angeles.
So rather than spend money on a party, Davis should seek a year-long farewell with a Raiders team that hopefully is far superior to the crew that set a franchise record with their eighth loss of the season by double figures. Even the 2006 Raiders under Art Shell, which finished 2-14, didn't manage that.
Davis thought he was giving Raiders fans the ultimate parting gift when he hired Jon Gruden. Instead, it's been an exploding cigar - and this is coming from someone who thought hiring Gruden was a good idea and still could be a good idea.
Almost everything the Raiders have done has been a disaster. They didn't want to pay Khalil Mack, and Mack has 12.5 sacks to 12 for the Raiders entire team. They traded an unproductive Amari Cooper and he became a super productive Amari Cooper.
Even if those trades work out in their favor down the road, it does the local fan base no good. Instead, they get performances like the one against the Bengals.
With the Raiders' offensive line featuring two faltering rookie tackles in Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker and a pair of emergency journeyman guards in Chaz Green and Denzelle Good, Carr never really had a chance. He got sacked five times.
Defensively, the Raiders gave up 30 points to a Cincinnati team with Jeff Driskel at quarterback. Driskel spent most of the day missing open receivers but the Raiders managed just a single interception by Erik Harris.
With the Raiders within 23-17 in the fourth quarter, they immediately coughed up a 77-yard kickoff return to Alex Erickson. That set up Joe Mixon, who rushed for 126 yards, for a game-clinching touchdown.
It wasn't as bad as the Week 9 34-3 loss to the 49ers at Levi's Stadium, but it was similar in that it was a decisive loss in which the Raiders' offensive line got dominated - although Gino Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are admittedly quality defensive linemen.
It's hard to know what the atmosphere will be like when the Raiders finish out the home season on Christmas Eve. It could be sad, angry or both. The fans also might surprise some by simply rooting for the Raiders as they always have and by extension an organization which owes them so much more than they're getting.
Which is why Mark Davis should offer some payback in the form of one more year in Oakland. Let the lawyers work out the rest.
Visit the East Bay Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.eastbaytimes.com
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