Napoleon McCallum is a name some diehard Raiders fans remember. Many more Oakland fans may know the former Raiders running back before long.
McCallum reportedly came up with the idea to entice the Raiders to Las Vegas, a relocation the NFL approved last week, as an employee for the Las Vegas Sans Corp.
A report in the Reno Gazette-Journal cites Chase Whittemore of Arguentum Partners, the lobbying firm that put weight behind the bill in the Nevada Legislature that levied $750 million via a hotel tax toward a proposed Raiders stadium. Whittemore outlined the connection last week on Nevada Newsmakers, a radio program on KOH-AM780.
Once a Raiders player, McCallum is friends with Raiders owner Mark Davis and now works for the Las Vegas Sands Corp. owned by Sheldon Adelson.
Back in 2015, as Whittemore’s story goes, McCallum talked with Davis — who was frustrated with the team’s financial situation in Oakland — and then with two members of the Sands government affairs team.
“‘You know, I was just talking to Mark Davis and they are not really happy with Oakland, so what do you think about bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas?’” Whittemore said McCallum told TJ Foley and Andy Abboud
Foley reportedly responded: “Actually, that is not a bad idea, Napoleon.”
That sparked a conversation between Davis and Adelson, who later pulled out as a financial backer for the Raiders. But the initial idea allegedly came from McCallum.
“So then they said, ‘Let’s take a look at it,’” Whittemore said. “‘Let’s bring it to our investment committee and bring it to Mr. Adelson.’ And they did … And here we are.”
Here we are, 21 years after McCallum gained 536 yards rushing for the Los Angeles Raiders. That team moved (back) to Oakland and is now headed for Sin City — thanks in part, perhaps, to McCallum.