The Las Vegas Raiders have achieved a historic milestone within their front office, setting a precedent in the NFL. According to Essence, the Raiders proudly feature an all-Black leadership group, with their head coach, Antonio Pierce, president, Sandra Douglass Morgan, and general manager, Champ Kelly, all being of African-American descent.
To shed light on when these accomplished individuals ascended to their respective roles:
- Antonio Pierce’s Rise to Head Coach:
Antonio Pierce’s journey to the helm of the Raiders began when he was promoted to the interim head coaching position. This move followed the departure of Josh McDaniels, who had been associated with the Raiders since 2022. McDaniels’ tenure had yielded a 3-5 record, leading to his dismissal after consecutive road losses to the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. Pierce, stepping into the role of head coach, made a resounding debut, guiding the Raiders to a spectacular 30-6 victory over the New York Giants. This win marked the Raiders’ highest point total of the season and only the second instance that they had scored more than 20 points in a game.
- Champ Kelly’s Role as Interim General Manager:
Champ Kelly assumed the crucial position of interim general manager for the Raiders on November 1, coinciding with Antonio Pierce’s promotion. Prior to his elevation to the role of GM, Kelly had diligently served as the assistant GM under Dave Ziegler since February 2, 2022.
- Sandra Douglass Morgan’s Remarkable Stint as Team President:
Among this distinguished trio, Sandra Douglass Morgan holds the distinction of being the longest-tenured member of the group. She has served as the Raiders’ team president since July 7, 2022. Her appointment marked a groundbreaking moment, as she became the first African-American woman to hold the position of NFL team president. Furthermore, Sandra Douglass Morgan was only the third woman and third African-American to achieve this prestigious title in the league’s history.
Antonio Pierce, born in Ontario, California, in 1978, shares a deep-rooted affinity with the Raiders. During most of Pierce’s formative years from 1982 to 1994, the Raiders were based in Los Angeles. Growing up, Pierce ardently supported the Raiders, and this allegiance remained steadfast even during his tenure as a linebacker with the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.
An interesting anecdote related to Antonio Pierce’s devotion to the Raiders comes from his time with the New York Giants. According to former Giants’ quarterback David Carr, in 2008, just a year after the Giants clinched their first Super Bowl championship, they faced off against the Raiders. It’s worth noting that this particular game actually took place during the 2009 season. After a pivotal play where Carr spiked the football in celebration, he headed to the sideline, brimming with excitement over the anticipated victory. It was then that Pierce approached Carr and admonished him, stressing the importance of never disrespecting the Raiders’ legacy.
In summary, the Las Vegas Raiders have etched their name in history by assembling an all-Black leadership group, showcasing the NFL’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The remarkable journeys of Antonio Pierce, Sandra Douglass Morgan, and Champ Kelly in their respective roles highlight their dedication and the groundbreaking nature of their appointments within the organization. Antonio Pierce’s unwavering loyalty to the Raiders, even during his playing days with other teams, adds a personal touch to the story, while an intriguing anecdote from his past underscores his deep respect for the Raiders’ legacy.