Al Davis’ penchant to fight against harmful stereotypes and being open-minded in his search for talented employees for his football team made him a respected and revered figure. The NFL maverick and legendary Raiders owner was a trend-setting in hiring practices.
The Silver & Black’s pioneering spirit still burns strong with Davis’ son Mark. The younger Davis tabbed Sandra Douglass Morgan as the Las Vegas Raiders new president last Thursday afternoon. Morgan becomes the first Black woman in NFL history to hold the distinction as team president.
Two different Davis generations forging bright paths forward for their football team. The Raiders continue their trend-setting ways and land a Las Vegas native to boot.
“I am thrilled that Sandra has agreed to join the Raiders family,” Mark Davis said during Morgan’s introductory press conference. “Her experience, integrity and passion for this community will be invaluable to our organization. From the moment I met Sandra, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. We are extremely lucky to have her at the helm.”
Morgan, who becomes a beacon of diversity and inclusion, isn’t some novelty hire. She’s every bit qualified to be the Raiders new team president with her her eclectic background in both private business and government work. And she’s also a Las Vegas native so there’s both professional and personal investment for Morgan as a local.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to join the Raiders at one of the most defining times in the team’s history,” Morgan began. “This team’s arrival in Las Vegas has created a new energy and opportunities we never dreamed possible. I look forward to taking this team’s integrity, spirit and commitment to excellence on the field into every facet of this organization.
“I was raised here, went to all Clark County schools, received my law degree here, so I have an invested interest in making sure that this partnership that the team has with the city is successful. It’s a dream come true to be a Raider.”
Morgan, who is a practicing attorney for the past 20 years, served on the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada State Athletic Commission. She was formerly the Nevada Gaming Control’s board chairwoman and executive director. Morgan was also the city attorney of North Las Vegas and the litigation attorney for MGM Mirage (now known as MGM Resorts International).
“My qualifications speak for themselves, and I’ve led and managed teams through good times and difficult times,” Morgan said. “If me being a Black woman brings an additional lens to my leadership — which I think it does — if it inspires others to help other girls and women know there’s a different path forward, then I’m all for it.”
Morgan was quick to point out the financial impact the Raiders brought to Las Vegas upon their arrival in the desert, highlighting the economic ripple effect the team has for the community.
“The Raiders organization brought almost $2.3 billion in economic impact from visitors, just for events at Allegiant Stadium,” Morgan said in an interview. “The estimate for the economic impact for the Super Bowl in 2024 is definitely in the billions, so there’s so much more to do. My service for the host committee has given me insight to the amazing things that are going to come in the next couple of years. I’m excited to be at the helm of that growth.”
Davis expanded upon Morgan’s arrival to the Raiders noting a Las Vegas connection wasn’t a requirement, however, the ties help accomplish the team’s goal of strengthening the relationship with the city.
“The Las Vegas connection was not a criteria, but it was something that was on the positive side of the ledger,” Davis told the media. “Obviously, somebody that knows this community, knows the people in it I think is very important for us to continue to build our foundation in Las Vegas.
“We’ve been here really about four, four and a half years trying to build bridges within the community and everything else, and I think having Sandra here, who knows the community as well as she does, is going to be a very important part of helping that process,” continued Davis.
Morgan does arrive to the Raiders during a time of turmoil. The team fired former interim president Dan Ventrelle, who claims his dismissal was retaliation for him alerting the NFL to the Raiders hostile work environment. Additional reports of hostile work environment surfaced with some women alleging a pattern of harassment and unequal treatment.
In a letter obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal announcing to Raider employees of Morgan’s hiring, the new team president intends to address the reports.
“Let me be clear — I am not here to avoid or sidestep problems or concerns that need to be addressed,” Morgan said in her letter to employees. “I’ve given long and thoughtful consideration to joining you, and I’ve done so 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 those and to hold me accountable to doing the same.”
With her strong community ties already, Morgan will get another champion in that relations department in Marcel Reece, the senior vice president and chief of staff. The duo gives Davis a strong one-two combo in the business administration side of his football team.