LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas Raiders named the first Black female team president in NFL history on Thursday: Sandra Douglass Morgan.
For the Raiders, it's not the first time the team is first the league in appointing female executives. Amy Trask made history as the first-ever female CEO of an NFL team when the Raiders (then of Oakland) gave her the job in 1997.
KTNV's Dave Courvoisier interviewed Front Office Sports Reporter AJ Perez about the new hire. A transcript of the interview can be seen below.
Dave: Raiders get a new president today. How does it move the Raiders forward not only on the field but from a personnel and a team culture standpoint?
AJ: Kind of get back to their roots under Al Davis obviously, they had Amy Trask as one of the first female executives and they hired Art Shell as head coach back in the 80s. I think this kind of gets back to it. It also you know, hurt hiring Morgan with she has a strong track record. A lot of leadership ability. Also, background as a lawyer, I think this is going to do a lot. She said today during that press conference that she's not about sweeping anything that's been alleged under the rug. And I think that's going to be a good thing going forward for the team and the organization.
Morgan replaces Dan Ventrelle, who was fired in early May.
Dave: And she's a local so that's a point of pride for the community.
AJ: Yes, exactly. Her you know, she went to grade school, she went to college at UNR, and law school at UNLV. She's specially spent the last 40 years of her life in Las Vegas. I think that's huge. She mentioned it today, five years ago. Now there was really no pro sports to speak of before the Golden Knights came to town and the Raiders and pretty simple how the f1 race and the probably an NBA and MLB team. So I think she's seen this region grow and it's I think she understands what the Raiders mean to the city and the whole area.
Dave: How does this higher impact the league as a whole?
AJ: Yeah, I covered the congressional hearings a few weeks ago where Roger Goodell testified obviously that was about the Washington commanders situation and the allegations of which are more lengthy, and more serious as far as we know now as what has been alleged against the Las Vegas Raiders, but they've been pushing for more diverse candidates for and hires from the coaching levels on up. And I think it's often overlooked. There are, you know, they're right here in the DC area. We have Jason Reitman, team president of the commander's who is black, but you know these from we see the players we see the coaches but the front office outside of the team presidents and the VPs a lot of people don't see them every day. And it's been a push over the last several years, not just the NFL but other pro sports to make to make the front office's reflect more about the area and the nation.
Dave: You know, I think it's safe to say that a lot of people may not understand what exactly an NFL team president does. I've heard that question in the newsroom today. So what will be her responsibilities?
AJ: Oh, it's the overall team but also the business side of it. And I think that's having three presidents over the last 12 months with this team. I think she's gonna be a stabilizing force. She has a background especially as a litigator and then at her various commission posts for the Gaming Commission and such. I think she has to she knows how that side works and she knows how to deal with a lot of the things that maybe other team presidents, maybe not her background is a little different. And I think it's I think that's gonna be a big help.
Dave: Do you think this was strictly Mark Davis's decision? Or did he have some help on this?
AJ: I think it was Mark Davis, I think I'll owners know, implicitly that they have to do better with diversity. I think they don't have to be told that at this point, it's been hammered home. Roger Goodell has faced these questions every time he talks to reporters about different issues when it comes to coaching, head coaching, assistant coaches, coordinators, and other people in the organization beyond the football staff, when you're talking about VPs and even team presidents and those in charge of teams know they have to have to do a lot better when it comes to making the people underneath them reflect the community.
Dave: And especially, there have been sexism and sexist accusations against Mark Davis. Is this his way of answering the critics?
AJ: Yeah, I think of fellow a speaker that they would go into a non-white male direction for this hire. But I don't know if this was anything that was forced upon Mark Bills that he needs to do this to take the heat off. Because right now, there's no NFL investigation that we know of. And the team has said that the league is looking into it, but they haven't launched an independent investigation, like we've had with the commanders. So I don't think if there was heat on market, this is going to take it off, necessarily. But I think he just hired the best candidate he thought was out there for this job. And her background, growing up in Las Vegas and living in Las Vegas, for so many years had to be a big help.
Morgan takes on the role during a bit of a tumultuous time for the Raiders, between the scandalous departure of head coach Jon Gruden, arrests and criminal citations of players, and reports that Ventrelle was fired for informing the league of complaints about the working environment.
Dave: Hypothetical situation, you're sitting in front of the new Raiders president today, what would you ask her?
AJ: I would the first thing I would ask would be how do you how does she get the sirens right. Again, the first thing I would ask is how are you gonna go about rebuilding the front office, and this has been so many departures over the last 14 months. And some for reasons we do know, and some for reasons we don't. And how do you bring the staff together? Talking to all the employees that have seen the changes and obviously, there's been a lot so I think she has to get a handle on the workplace culture there. What went wrong, what was going right, and as well and then to figure out a path forward.