The Raiders have seen a ton of turnover within the organization over the past year, with a new head coach and general manager heading into this season. However, things behind the scenes have been seemingly rocky for a while.
A New York Times report from Jenny Vrentas, Ken Belson and Kevin Draper details the instability that current and former employees have experienced under owner Mark Davis’s leadership.
According to the Times, many senior executives have left in the past year with little or no public or private explanations as to why. After Davis hired a consulting firm to assess the organization, former president Marc Badain exited last July, while CFO Ed Villanueva and controller Araxie Grant left soon after. Davis attributed those exits to issues on the business-side of the organization.
“I think it’s pretty much clear now, or I don’t know if it is clear now, but it was pretty much accounting irregularities,” Davis said in October. “That’s why the CFO left, the controller left and the president left, that’s what it was.”
However, turmoil within the organization dates back to before it moved to Las Vegas. According to the report, the Raiders had to pay $1.25 million to cheerleaders who sued the team for “paying them less than the minimum wage during the 2010 to 2013 seasons.”
Additionally, the team actively tried to avoid paying its employees overtime. Nicole Adams, a former Raiders human resources employee, said it was part of her job to design job descriptions that would discourage employees from filing for overtime despite working long hours. She said she was told former president Dan Ventrelle “wanted it done.”
Ventrelle recently left the organization after he claimed he informed the league of a hostile workplace in Las Vegas.
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Adams, who is Black, also filed a complaint with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, accusing the team of discriminating against her by race when she raised concerns around unfair treatment within the organization.
Another former employee sued the team for not allowing rest and meal breaks on game days, a suit that forced the Raiders to pay $325,000 to 400 different employees. Other suits against the team include an employee who claimed he was fired for balancing child care with his work, and a class-action lawsuit for issues involving overtime pay.
Over the past year, organizational figures have continued to leave the team—highlighted by former head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation after emails surfaced of him using misogynistic, homophobic and racist language. Gruden is currently suing the NFL, claiming the league “orchestrated” the release of the emails.
Employees also claim the team has struggled to control spending, at one point culminating in the lights being shut off due to not paying the bill. Employees were not encouraged to speak up.
“If anyone complained, they were let go,” Adams said.
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