The Oakland Raiders – in partnership with the National Football League Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) – on Monday presented the Friends of Oakland Parks & Recreation (FOPR) a $200,000 grant to help build a new synthetic turf football field at Oakland’s Curt Flood Sports Complex, located at School Street and Coolidge Avenue.
The Curt Flood Field serves more than 800 students a month for football and other sports related activities, and the grass field has deteriorated overtime.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Oakland, Curt Flood was a star baseball player at McClymonds High School and Oakland Technical High School. He signed with the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956 and was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For 12 seasons, Flood became a prominent outfielder, and earned seven Gold Glove Award – an honor in major league baseball that recognizes a player’s field performance.
However, Flood became known more for his presence off the field as he fought to change the league’s reserve clause, which kept players stuck to the teams they originally signed with even if contract conditions had been met. Ultimately, Flood’s legal fight led to today’s widespread free agency for players.
“He gave players the right to control their own careers,” said Mayor Jean Quan, who attended the presentation ceremony.
Raiders Pro Hall of Famer Willie Brown also addressed the crowd of young students and emphasized the importance of kids having a safe and quality place to play.
Emphasizing the importance of the renovation, Brown said, “When you put a professional player’s name on the project, it should be the very best.”
Quan also said the grant from the Raiders “closed the gap” of the $2.5 million needed to begin the renovation project.
Other contributors to the project include Oakland Park & Recreation, City Councilmember Noel Gallo, Housing Community Development and the Community Block Grant, in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District, and the Curt Flood Committee and Professional Athletes.
The Golden State Warriors have also committed to renovating the basketball courts on the complex.
The event also kicked off Raiders Week, which includes a host of youth sports clinics and giveaways, as the Raiders prepare for the home opener against the Houston Texas on Sunday. Kick off is at 1:25pm.