How Sandra Douglass Morgan Became a Pioneer in the NFL

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It has taken 102 years for the National Football League (NFL) to have a female president heading a team. In July 2022, Sandra Douglass Morgan made history when she was named the President of the Las Vegas Raiders, becoming the first black woman to hold such a position in the NFL. 

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This isn’t her first leadership role, but it comes with a lot of media attention due to the nature of the business she’s involved in. We trace Douglass Morgan’s journey to the top of the NFL.

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Sandra Douglass Morgan’s Background

Sandra Douglass in a selfie with Las Vegas Raiders fans. Source: Instagram

Douglass Morgan is from Missouri but, as a result of her father’s work, they moved to Las Vegas. For Morgan, she wasn’t done moving. She wanted to go to California to study journalism. In 1990, Douglass Morgan joined the University of Nevada and studied political science and communications.

In the middle of her studies, Morgan took a class in constitutional law and she was immediately drawn in. She was fascinated by all the opportunities to build a fairer, equitable world. 

After finishing her undergraduate degree, Morgan went to law school and began her professional career at The Mirage Casino Resort as a litigation lawyer. In 2008, Morgan became a North Las Vegas City attorney, which made her the first black city attorney in Nevada.

From there, she held several high-profile positions in her hometown, the city of Las Vegas. These include the director of external affairs for AT&T and later the Nevada Gaming Commission. By the time COVID-19 came around, she was the Chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which made her responsible for all gaming outlets in Nevada.

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Road to NFL Team President

Announcement of Sandra Douglass Morgan’s presidency. Source: Instagram

Douglass Morgan left her job as the Chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission in 2020 and went on to work on several boards. Additionally, she started her consulting business and provided legal counsel for a couple more businesses. It was a busy year for her in which she also added the role of being the NFL’s Las Vegas Committee Super Bowl member. 

One of the biggest roles was ensuring that Super Bowl LVIII, played at the Allegiant Stadium, was properly planned. She was involved in streamlining security, sponsorship discussions and preparing the different locations needed for the Super Bowl.

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Meeting Las Vegas Raiders’ Owner

Las Vegas Raiders’ President sharing tips for success. Video Credit: Forbes

The exposure she got from these experiences was preparing her to take on a historical role. Morgan learned more about herself and the leadership qualities necessary to be an effective leader. Confidence was one of them and when she met the Las Vegas team owner Mark Davis, she offered to provide business advice.

At the time, the Las Vegas Raiders were settling in Las Vegas and two of its presidents had left, Davis approached Douglass Morgan to be the team’s president. She says that she never expected to work in such a role, let alone an NFL football team

After seeking advice from the people closest to her, including her husband, a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals, Sandra Douglass Morgan agreed to be the president of the Raiders.

Post Appointment Reaction

Her appointment drew media attention, something she says she didn’t expect. Additionally, she’s received a lot of messages from people who’re looking up to her, something she doesn’t take lightly.

The Las Vegas Raiders President Sandra Douglass Morgan says she wants to do more than just be the first black woman to hold such a position. She wants to diversify the game from the top so it can have a ripple effect throughout the game. 

Sandra Douglass Morgan realizes the importance of her position to people of color especially, women. This ensures that the next generation won’t have to put up with the same battles.

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