Las Vegas native Sandra Douglass Morgan has made NFL history by being named president of her city’s pro football team, the Raiders. The reveal was made on Thursday, and she becomes the first Black woman to ever hold such a position within an NFL franchise. Raiders owner Mark Davis appeared alongside Morgan at a press conference to break the news.
“My qualifications speak for themselves, and I’ve led and managed teams through good times and difficult times,” she 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.”
Most recently, Morgan was of counsel with the law firm Covington & Burling LLP. Prior to that, she worked at AT&T and MGM, and she was the vice-chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl host committee. Morgan also holds the distinction of being the first person of color to serve as the chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the first Black city attorney in Nevada.
“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.”
The Raiders have been a team facing turmoil as of late, however, with Morgan being the organization’s third president in just over a year. Last October, head coach Jon Gruden resigned after a series of racist and homophobic emails of his were leaked, going as far back as at least a decade. And in the following month, the team released cornerback Damon Arnette after video surfaced of him waving a gun and threatening to kill someone.
“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,” Davis later added.
“It’s no secret that this organization has faced some recent challenges. But I want to be clear: I’m not here to sweep anything under the rug or avoid problems or concerns that need to be addressed,” Morgan also acknowledged.
But she wasn’t all business. Morgan joked around a bit, too, saying she looks forward to eventually sitting down with the president of Raider Nation himself, Ice Cube. “The fact is I 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 integrity, community, and, most of all, commitment to excellence.”