Raiders hires Sandra Douglass Morgan as new team president
Former Nevada Gaming Control Board chair Sandra Douglass Morgan was named Raider’s new president on Thursday, making her the first black woman to take on such a role in the NFL.
Morgan’s appointment was announced to Raiders employees via a letter obtained by Review-Journal. She was later introduced at a press conference at Allegiant Stadium.
“I am delighted to be with you as we embark on one of the most exciting times in the organization’s history,” Morgan said in the letter. “I look forward to meeting each and every one of you in person over the coming weeks.”
Morgan, who was the first African-American to serve as chairman of the control board from 2019-2021, will begin his new role immediately. Morgan is the third woman and third African-American to be president of an NFL team.
The president’s position has been vacant since early May, when then-interim president Dan Ventrelle was fired by the team. Ventrelle claims the move was made in retaliation for notifying the NFL of a hostile work environment in the organization.
There have also been reports of a hostile work environment within the Raiders organization, with some women claiming a disturbing pattern of harassment, forced degradation and unequal treatment.
Morgan acknowledged the reports and said it was something she intended to address. In his nearly two years at the helm of the control board, Morgan worked to ensure that all gaming licensees adopted guidelines prohibiting discrimination and harassment.
“Let me be clear – I’m not here to avoid or circumvent issues or concerns that need to be resolved,” Morgan said in a letter to employees. “I have been thinking for a long time about joining you, and I have done so because I believe in the promise of the Raiders. The most important thing is that I believe in your core values such as integrity, community and commitment to excellence. I would expect you to embody them and hold me accountable for doing the same. “
Morgan said she officially met Raiders owner Mark Davis about 10 months ago, after brief meetings earlier in her previous roles in the community. After the role of team president opened up, the two talked about what it would mean.
“He told me his vision for the organization and how it would fit in well with my leadership philosophy and leadership style,” Morgan told the Review-Journal. “I’m just extremely excited to be a Las Vegan and to see what the team has done for society over the last three to four years is just amazing. Having the opportunity to lead it to the next chapter of the Raiders is a dream come true. for me.”
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Davis said the Las Vegas connection was not a criterion in the presidential appointment, but Morgan’s knowledge and connections in the area were a plus.
“Obviously, someone who knows this community, knows the people in it, I think it’s very important for us to continue to build our foundation in Las Vegas,” Davis said. “We have actually been here for four, four and a half years and tried to build bridges in the community and everything else, and I think it will be very important to have Sandra here, who knows the community as well as she does. part of helping that process. “
Morgan has a long history in Nevada outside of his role on the control board.
Last year, she was named deputy chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl Host Committee and was named to the board of Allegiant Travel Co., the parent company of Allegiant Air, the naming partner of the Raiders’ home, Allegiant Stadium.
“The Raiders organization brought in nearly $ 2.3 billion in financial impact from visitors, just for events at the Allegiant Stadium,” Morgan said in an interview. “The estimate for the financial impact of the Super Bowl in 2024 is definitely in the billions, so there is so much more to do. year. I am excited to be at the helm of that growth. “
From 2016 to 2019, Morgan served as Director of External Affairs for AT&T Services Inc., overseeing the company’s local government, law, and social affairs in Nevada.
Prior to that, Morgan spent eight years in the city of North Las Vegas, including serving as a city attorney from 2013 to 2016. Prior to that, she also served as an attorney for MGM Mirage, now known as MGM Resorts International.
Morgan has also previously served on the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“The Raiders could not have chosen a better person to put at the helm,” said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft. Sandra Douglass Morgan is a proven business leader, passionate community advocate and experienced regulator. I look forward to working with her in this new role and continuing our partnership with the Las Vegas Raiders and Allegiant Stadium, to strengthen our reputation as the largest arena in the earth. “
Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, agreed: “A great hiring of the Raiders,” he said.
“Bringing Sandra Douglass Morgan on board to lead the Las Vegas Raiders was a brilliant decision,” said Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association. “Over the years in her various high-profile roles, she has consistently shown all the qualities that make her the perfect choice – her intellect, integrity, unreliable leadership, business acumen, perseverance, passion and open communication style.”
The Raiders are no stranger to breaking color and gender barriers in the NFL. The team hired Art Shell as the first Black head coach in the modern NFL era and made Amy Trask the first female CEO in the league’s history. Former head coach Tom Flores was also the first Spanish head coach to win a Super Bowl.
Similarly, Morgan’s new role with the Raiders will not be the first time she breaks barriers in a prominent career. She was the first African-American city attorney in the state of Nevada and was the first African-American and the second female leader of the control board.
When she accepted that appointment, one of her stated missions was to ensure that traditionally under-represented groups had a presence at all levels in the gaming sector.
Part of her oversight responsibilities included sports betting at a key time as the state continued to work on the integration of major league franchises and the expansion of legalized gaming to new markets across the country.
The long story and the challenges that came with it will carry over to her new role. From helping deal with the recession while in North Las Vegas, to having to shut down and then reopen resorts while the pandemic was high, Morgan has a lot of experience to draw from.
“I have been able to take from unfortunate situations,” Morgan said. “To be able to step through and find good solutions that help the greater good … I definitely learned a lot about leadership, leadership and collaboration with others. I’m a very cooperative leader, and I think I’ll be able to bring those skills to the Raiders.
Morgan has deep roots in Las Vegas. She moved to the city when she was 2 years old and her father retired at Nellis Air Force Base. Her mother worked in the gaming industry when she was growing up.
Her father, Gilbert Douglass, is one of Morgan’s biggest fans and attended the announcement ceremony. He said he is proud but not surprised by his daughter’s continued success.
“I think it’s a great achievement, but she’s done a lot of amazing things in her life,” Douglass said. “She has always been good at what she does, she is a very smart boy. I think it’s going to go well. “
Morgan’s husband Don, played in the NFL between 1999-2002, with stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals. That story adds an extra bit of excitement to their household.
“It’s an exciting time as a native of Vegan and obviously (I am) incredibly excited,” Morgan said. “My husband is an NFL veteran, so he’s ecstatic, too. I’m just looking forward to starting and getting in there. “
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Raiders hired the first Spanish-speaking head coach of the NFL.