The Las Vegas Raiders made history on Thursday, naming Sandra Douglass Morgan as team president. She becomes the first Black woman to hold that position for an NFL franchise.
Morgan, who is the former Nevada Gaming Control Board chair, becomes the third woman to become an NFL team president and the third Black person to hold the position, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
Morgan joins Kristi Coleman of the Carolina Panthers and Kim Pegula of the Buffalo Bills as the only women to hold the title of team president, Sports Illustrated reported. Sashi Brown of the Baltimore Ravens and Jason Wright of the Washington Commanders are the only other Blacks named as a team president, according to the magazine.
Morgan’s hiring was announced to Raiders employees in a letter obtained by the Review-Journal.
“I am thrilled to join you as we embark on one of the most exciting times in the history of our organization,” Morgan said in the letter. “I look forward to meeting each of you in person over the coming weeks.”
Morgan, who was born in Las Vegas, also served as director of external affairs for AT&T Services Inc. in southern Nevada and as a litigation attorney for an international gaming and hospitality company, ESPN reported.
Morgan sits on the boards for Caesars Entertainment and Allegiant Travel, the parent company of the airline that has the naming rights to the Raiders’ stadium, The New York Times reported. Last year she was named the vice chair of Las Vegas’ host committee for Super Bowl LVIII, which is scheduled to be played in Las Vegas in February 2024.
“I am thrilled that Sandra has agreed to join the Raiders family,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “Her experience, integrity and passion for this community will be invaluable to our organization.”
Morgan said she was “honored and humbled” when Davis approached her about the position, but that she also had many questions for him, according to the Times.
“It’s no secret this organization has faced some recent challenges,” she said during a news conference at Allegiant Stadium on Thursday. “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.”
The president’s position has been vacant since early May when then-interim president Dan Ventrelle was fired by Raiders, the Review-Journal reported. Ventrelle said the move was made in retaliation for him alerting the NFL to a hostile work environment within the organization, according to the newspaper.
Morgan’s hiring was applauded by Nevada officials.
“The Raiders could not have selected a better person to put at the helm,” Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said in a statement. “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 solidify our reputation as the greatest arena on earth.”
“A great hire by the Raiders,” Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, told the Review-Journal.
Morgan is 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, ESPN reported.