Discover Proudly Amplifies Diverse Voices
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It’s no secret that the NFL is primarily white-owned. Over the years, there have been talks of prominent figures — from Jay-Z to Diddy — taking steps to own NFL teams. Yet, those deals have yet to come to fruition. Interestingly, a look at the Las Vegas Raiders shows the tide is slowly turning.

In 2023, the Las Vegas Raiders upped the ante. According to USA Today, the football team is the first to have all-Black leadership. Consisting of Antonio Pierce as interim head coach, Sandra Douglass as team president, and Champ Kelly as general manager, the team sets the standard for diversity in the NFL

On Nov. 1, 2023, Josh McDaniels was terminated as head coach of the Raiders. Pierce was named interim coach shortly after. Along with McDaniels, his general manager, Dave Ziegler, was fired. At that time, Kelly was Ziegler’s right-hand man as assistant general manager. Shortly after Ziegler’s departure, Kelly was promoted to general manager.

Credit: Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Douglass has been a part of the Raiders franchise since 2022, making history as the first Black woman to be hired as team president. According to Black Enterprise, she is the third Black person and third woman to hold the position.  

The Las Vegas Raiders have championed diversity and inclusion for decades. 

Although this is the first time that the franchise is Black-led, the Raiders have long valued minorities. The team is home to the first Mexican-American head coach in the NFL, Tom Flores. He led the team to the Super Bowl in 1980 and 1993.

Former Raiders head coach Art Shell was the first Black head coach to appear at a conference championship. He was later awarded Coach of the Year by the NFL.

Women have also seen great success working for the Las Vegas Raiders. In 1997, the first female CEO, Amy Trask, was hired. She held the position until 2013.

Antonio Pierce may be the savior the Raiders need.

Crdit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Since Pierce was named interim head coach, the Raiders have seen a share of success. The Raiders won two games, back to back. By the end of the 2023 season, the team was named second in the AFC West.

Although Pierce never played for the Raiders during his time in the NFL, he has long been a fan of the franchise. According to USA Today, Pierce was adamant about not allowing anyone to “disrespect the team.” Former New York Giants quarterback David Carr recalled celebrating a victory against the team. Pierce cautioned him about his behavior towards the team on the sidelines.

With that in mind, Pierce clearly admires the franchise, making this a full-circle moment for him.

Other NFL teams should take note. 

According to The Washington Post, there have only been less than 30 Black NFL coaches — 26 to be exact. Moreover, the NFL has struggled with diversity since its inception in 1920.

With over 50% of the players being Black, it is disheartening to see that the minority players are not well-represented in leadership. That said, this move puts The Las Vegas Raiders on the map for leading the NFL in diversity and the league into the future.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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