Sandra Douglass Morgan speaks during a news conference announcing her as the new president of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL football team Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

By W.G. Ramirez,
The Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders introduced a former Nevada gambling regulator July 7 as the franchise’s new president, the first Black woman to hold the title with an NFL team.

Team owner Mark Davis said Sandra Douglass Morgan topped his list every time after he spoke to candidates.

“Her experience, integrity and passion for this community will be invaluable to our organization,” Davis said. “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, the former chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, is the third woman and third African-American to become president of an NFL team.

She is also the latest Raiders hire to break barriers. Former Raiders coach Tom Flores was the first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl title and former coach Art Shell was the first Black head coach of the NFL’s Super Bowl era.

Morgan, who spent eight years with the city of North Las Vegas, was also the first Black city attorney in the state of Nevada when she served in that role from 2013 to 2016.

“I definitely never want to be the last,” Morgan said, “and I want to get to a point where there is no more firsts.”

Morgan emphasized leadership and full transparency during her introductory press conference at Allegiant Stadium.

“We have so much more to do, and I’m excited to be at the helm of that growth and look forward to ushering in the new chapter for the Raiders,” said Morgan. “The fact is I have accepted this role because I believe in the promise of the Raiders, I believe in the future of the Raiders, and I believe in this organization’s tenets of community, integrity, and most of all, commitment to excellence.”

She takes over a team that has endured tumultuous times in its front office, with two presidents and several longtime executives leaving the organization in less than a year.

After Marc Badain resigned as president last summer, Dan Ventrelle took over in July 2021 on an interim basis and was promoted to the full-time role in January.

But Ventrelle was gone less than a year after joining the organization. In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ventrelle said he was fired in retaliation for bringing concerns from multiple employees to the NFL about a “hostile work environment.”

“It’s no secret that this organization has faced some recent challenges, but I want to be clear, I am not here to sweep anything under the rug or avoid problems or concerns that need to be addressed,” said Morgan. “It is not lost on me that this is a critical and defining moment in the NFL. It’s important to me and it is my intention to make a meaningful contribution well beyond the Raiders family.”

Star defensive end Maxx Crosby, who attended Morgan’s introduction, said Raiders players are excited to start a new chapter.

“It’s incredible,” Crosby said. “First off, just breaking barriers and Mark has done an incredible job and it started with his father. You know, just being transparent and giving everyone an equal opportunity. She’s honestly the best for the job and it’s going to be awesome, we’re excited for the future.”

Coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler welcomed Morgan in a prepared statement.

“We congratulate Sandra Douglass Morgan on her historic hiring as team president and are excited to welcome her into the Raiders family. Sandra brings impressive leadership experience to the organization and we are thrilled to work with her as we continue to build a championship-caliber culture and team,” the statement said.

Morgan’s husband, Don, played with the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals between 1999 and 2002.

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AP freelance writer Poppy Cartledge contributed to this story.

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