(LAS VEGAS) — The Las Vegas Raiders recently announced Sandra Douglass Morgan as the team’s newest president, making her the first Black female team president in the National Football League’s history.
“It’s really a dream come true,” she told ABC News’ Amy Robach on “GMA3.”
Morgan has previously served as the chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, worked as a city attorney and was a member of the city’s COVID-19 task force. She was born and raised in Las Vegas, and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and graduate law degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
She is the third female president and third Black president of an NFL team.
“I’m just really, really lucky to have this opportunity and hopefully open doors for many other women and women of color in leadership roles in sports,” she told ABC News.
The team has faced some challenging moments over the past few years, with a number of top executives resigning or being fired.
Former Raiders president, businessman Dan Ventrelle, held the office for less than a year and left in May. The Raiders organization did not comment on the reason.
In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ventrelle claimed he was fired in retaliation because he had raised concerns to the NFL about “a hostile work environment” and “other potential misconduct” from the team’s owner Mark Davis.
The NFL announced it would open an investigation into the claims in May 2022, the Washington Post reported.
David said in a July 2022 statement that “we did an investigation into all those things,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. “We listened to the people who work in the organization and I believe we started to make those changes that are necessary to get the culture back to where we feel we can all be positive.”
The New York Times reported that since the Raiders team moved from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas in 2020, “six of the team’s eight top executives quit or were fired with little explanation.”
Former Raiders president Marc Badain resigned in July 2021 after 30 years with the organization.
Davis eventually told reporters that Badain, as well as the organization’s chief financial officer and controller, left because of “accounting irregularities.”
Former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned after reports about inappropriate emails he sent went public, writing on Twitter: “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” adding, “I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
“It’s no secret that this organization has faced some recent challenges,” Morgan said in a press conference on Thursday. “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.”
“I have accepted this role because I believe in the promise of the Raiders, I believe in the future of the Raiders,” she added.
She spoke about the role sports plays in the city’s economy, and her goal of making Las Vegas the “sports capital of the world.” The football team’s home field Allegiant Stadium opened in 2020 and, at a cost of $1.9 billion, it is thought to be the second-most expensive stadium in the world.
During the press conference Thursday Morgan claimed that “the Raiders organization has brought $2.29 billion in economic impact [through] visitors of events in Allegiant Stadium.”
It has already been announced that the 2024 Super Bowl will be held at Allegiant Stadium.
Morgan serves on the board of Allegiant, a low-cost airline headquartered in Las Vegas, as well as Caesar’s Entertainment, the casino and hotel company based in the city.
Both of these organizations are sponsors of the stadium.
“We’ll continue to monitor [those appointments] if there’s an issue,” she said during the press conference, responding to a reporter’s question. “Obviously, those boards know that the Raiders are my first priority.”
“I can’t wait to have this new season and a full stadium at Allegiant Stadium,” Morgan told ABC News. “We’re ready to go and ready to kick it off.”
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.Michela Moscufo, ABC News