BREAKING BARRIERS: Raiders hire Sandra Douglass Morgan, 1st Black woman team president in NFL history

The Las Vegas Raiders made history Thursday afternoon, hiring Sandra Douglass Morgan as team president; the first Black woman to assume that role in NFL history
Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 7:43 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Las Vegas Raiders made history Thursday afternoon, hiring Sandra Douglass Morgan as team president; the first Black woman to assume that role in NFL history.

“We talked to a number of -- a number of qualified candidates, but one person kept coming to the top of the list, and I’m proud to introduce to you today the president of the Las Vegas Raiders, Sandra Douglass Morgan,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis.

The Las Vegas native, Morgan, has spent more than 40 years in the valley, going to preschool, graduating from El Dorado High School, and earning her Bachelors degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her father, an Air Force veteran, retired at Nellis Air Force Base.

Breaking barriers is nothing new to Morgan who most recently became the first person of color to serve as chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and was also the first African-American city attorney in the state of Nevada.

“It is not lost on me that this is a critical and defining moment in the NFL,” explained Raiders President, Sandra Douglass Morgan. “It’s important to me and it is my intention to make a meaningful contribution well beyond the Raiders family.”

The Las Vegas native has spent more than 40 years in the valley, attending preschool and graduating from El Dorado High School.

“Clearly she will be a very forward-facing and public-facing figure, and what that does is really open up the opportunity for other women to see themselves not just working for an organization like the Raiders or even [the Vegas Golden Knights] but seeing themselves as leading an organization,” UNLV sports management professor Nancy Lough said.

Morgan is also just the third woman to be named president of an NFL team. The leadership roles for women are often an anomaly in many other sports too.

Lough pointed out that just 12% of NCAA Division One athletic directors are women. Roughly 45% of student-athletes are female.

“To have a sport that is all male athletes, but yet have a woman in decision-making roles really is opening up people’s perspective with regard to the business of sport,” Lough said. “The key to diversity is we will bring unique and different perspectives. Those unique and different perspectives are actually what leads to innovation and being that forward-thinking organization that’s really going to change things for the league, for the city and for all that look to them.”

As team president, Morgan will oversee all finances and budgets for the Silver and Black organization, as well as run the day-to-day operations with each department within Raiders HQ.

“I will be meeting with each of our partners and our sponsors to see what we can do to continue to enhance those relationships,” explained Morgan. “This is a success. I mean, I am really walking into an organization that has international brand recognition and has been respected in sports and outside of sports, so it’s not like I’m coming in with a difficult position.”

Morgan is now the third team president within the last 12 months. In July of 2021, Marc Badain - who had been with the organization for three decades - abruptly submitted his resignation. Soon after, Dan Ventrelle was interim president but was fired this past May with the team giving no reason publicly.

At the time, Ventrelle told another media outlet, he had shared concerns by employees within the Raiders organization, who had complained about the behavior of Mark Davis in the workplace.

“Look, it’s really no secret that there’s been some reports about turnover,” explained Morgan. “My number one goal is to meet with each and every employee, which I had an opportunity to meet the employees, many of them, this morning and making sure that our Raider family is strong. Our house will be strong, will be in order to ensure that we can continue to benefit and provide world-class entertainment for this community.”

“I really don’t want to comment on why or how, you can ask (Badain and/or Ventrelle), if you want to know why or how,” responded Davis. “Again for me, the culture of this organization since the articles came out, not only the New York Times, but the RJ, which kind of copied whatever they were saying, I take those very seriously. We did an investigation into all those things, listened to the people that work in the organization and I believe we started to make those changes that are necessary to get the culture back we all feel can be positive.”