By Jacob Lev, CNN
(CNN) — The Las Vegas Raiders have hired Sandra Douglass Morgan as team president, making her the first black woman to hold that position for an NFL team.
At a press conference at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas announcing the hiring, Morgan was asked what it meant to her to make league history.
“I was first in other positions I’ve had, whether it’s city attorney or gaming control board,” Morgan said. “I certainly never want to be the last and obviously I want to get to the point where there are no more firsts…I would tip my hat to all the…previous women who were leaders and visionaries, if I could be one inspiring or helping or opening doors for other women or girls, that’s an incredible accomplishment for me.
“The importance and effect of this is not lost on me. I know that sport is a male-dominated industry, just like gaming was, and we need to keep breaking down those barriers.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has touted his experience, integrity and passion for the Las Vegas community.
“From the moment I met Sandra, I knew she was a force to be reckoned with,” he said in a press release. “We are extremely lucky to have him at the helm.”
CNN has reached out to the NFL for comment.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal obtained a letter to members of the organization announcing the hiring.
“I am delighted to join you as we begin one of the most exciting times in our organization’s history,” the Review-Journal quoted Morgan as saying in the letter. “I look forward to meeting each of you in person over the next few weeks.”
In May, Davis fired then-team president Dan Ventrelle and did not provide a reason for his dismissal.
However, in a statement texted to the Review-Journal, Ventrelle said he was fired in retaliation for telling the league about alleged complaints that Davis created a hostile work environment as well as other potential misconduct, which he rejected. Asked at the time by the Review-Journal about Ventrelle’s allegations, Davis said he was aware of them and would not comment. The NFL said it would look into the allegations.
In the past year, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned after reports emerged of him using homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while working as an ESPN analyst . He apologized saying he “never meant to hurt anyone”.
Morgan addressed organizational issues in his letter, the Las Vegas newspaper reported.
“Let me be clear – I am not here to avoid or dodge any issues or concerns that need to be addressed,” the Review-Journal wrote, quoting her. “I thought long and hard about joining you, and I did it because I believe in the promise of the Raiders. Most importantly, I believe in your core values of integrity, community and commitment. Excellence I will expect you to embody them and hold me accountable to do the same.
Historic firsts are nothing new for the Raiders. The Raiders became the first modern NFL team to hire a black head coach when they hired Art Shell in 1989. In 1997, with the hiring of Amy Trask, they became the first team to hire a woman. as general manager.
Jason Wright, hired in 2020 by the Washington Commanders, served as the NFL’s first black team president. Earlier this year, the Baltimore Ravens hired Sashi Brown as president.
Morgan is a former chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, appointed in 2019. She was also the first black woman to hold the position.
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