The Strikers announced the historic hiring of Sandra Douglas Morgan as team president Thursday, making her the first black woman to fill the role in NFL history.
Las Vegas introduced Morgan at a press conference Thursday afternoon after announcing the move in a letter obtained by Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Morgan, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board from 2019 to ’21, will now join Christy Coleman (Panthers) and Kim Pegula (Bills) as the only women to hold the title of team president, and Sashi Brown (Garvani ) and Jason Wright (Commanders) as the only blacks named to the position in league history.
“As I shared with the team earlier today, I grew up in Las Vegas and have truly witnessed the rise of this city to one of the sports capitals of the world, visited by millions around the world, and it is a lifetime honor to serve as the president of this organization,” Morgan said during his opening remarks.
Morgan, who previously broke ground in her most recent job as the first chairman of the Black Board of Control, now joins a Raiders lineup that also includes previous historic hires. In 1989, the club hired former player Art Schell as head coach, making him the NFL’s first black head coach in the modern era, and in 1997, the team hired Amy Trask, who became the league’s first female executive director.
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In addition to his new position, Morgan boasts several professional ties to both the organization and the city. Over the past decade and more, Morgan has served as Director of External Affairs for AT&T Services, City Attorney for North Las Vegas, and Litigation Attorney for MGM International; in 2021, she was named vice chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee and appointed to the board of directors of Allegiant Travel Co., which owns Allegiant Air, the naming rights partner for Allegiant Stadium.
Morgan’s arrival represents another notable step for the NFL as it continues to evaluate its diversity, equity and inclusion policies. The hire also brings much-needed stability to the Raiders organization amid a recent string of tumultuous front office events that includes an ongoing investigation and an open lawsuit.
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Morgan addressed the legal proceedings and any outstanding concerns in the Raiders’ letter.
“Let me be clear — I’m not here to avoid or sidestep issues or concerns that need to be addressed,” she told officials, according to Review-journal. “I thought long and hard about joining you and I did because I believe in the promise of the Raiders. Most importantly, I believe in your core values of integrity, community, and commitment to excellence. I will expect you to embody them and hold me accountable to do the same.
Las Vegas released a brief statement on May 6 announcing that former president Dan Ventrell is “no longer with the organization” after less than a year at the helm. Later that day, Ventrelle released a statement accusing owner Mark Davis of firing him after he raised concerns that Davis was creating a “hostile work environment” and engaging in “other potential misconduct.” The NFL announced it would launch an investigation shortly after.
A few days later on May 14, New York Times published a report featuring accounts from former and current Raiders employees detailing the instability under Davis. The report also noted comments from senior executives who have left the club in the past year and more; Ventrelle’s promotion came after former president Mark Badein resigned last July and roughly four months before former coach Jon Gruden sued the organization after his resignation in October over emails that showed he used misogynistic, homophobic and racist language.
As the club looks for a fresh start with the 2022 season fast approaching, Morgan joins the Raiders at a time of significant change both on and off the pitch.
From a football perspective, Las Vegas enters the fall with added expectations after losing in the Wild Card Round following a 10–7 campaign. The club revamped its coaching staff with the hiring of longtime Patriots assistant Josh McDaniels and notably signed shortstop Davante Adams in free agency.
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