HENDERSON, NEVADA – When Mark Davis, the owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, fired coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler on Halloween night, he also made history by naming Antonio Pierce as interim coach and Champ Kelly as acting general manager.

Because of these actions, the Raiders became the first NFL team to have Black people in the three key leadership positions below the owner: coach, general manager, and president. Sandra Douglass Morgan, the team’s president, is one of the league’s few female executives.

“I don’t take it lightly,” Pierce explained. “There are not many people from my background, grew up from where I grew up (Compton, California), to be in front of this stage, to have this kind of responsibility.”

JUST IN: The Raiders are leading the league in terms of leadership diversity
JUST IN: The Raiders are leading the league in terms of leadership diversity

Pierce grew up a Raiders fan and noted that the team has a history of being a trailblazer, whether in Las Vegas, Oakland, or Los Angeles. Kelly and Douglass Morgan noted that Mark Davis’ father, Hall of Fame owner Al Davis, set the standard in 1989 when Art Shell became the NFL’s first Black head coach in the Super Bowl era.

Tom Flores, a Mexican American, became the first minority head coach to win a Super Bowl when he led the Raiders to victory in 1980 and then again three years later. Two years ago, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In terms of the ultimate on-field leadership position, Kelly noted that the Raiders were the first to select a Black quarterback in the first round in 1968, when they selected Eldridge Dickey.

“The Raiders have long been a leader in diversity in professional sports, and the NFL would not be what it is today without Al Davis,” Kelly said in an Associated Press statement. “It is no surprise, then, that the Raiders, led by Mark Davis, are the first franchise to have a Black head coach, president, and general manager.” Personally, I couldn’t be more proud to be a member of this leadership team.”

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