What a difference a month makes, especially if you wear the silver and black as a professional athlete in Sin City.
Since almost the middle of October, the former Bay Area team has been embroiled in scandal after scandal.
The Raiders 2020 Draft will go down as the worst in NFL history:
R1 Henry Ruggs: Prison
R1 Damon Arnette: Cut
R3 Lynn Bowden: Traded, 0 snaps
R3 Bryan Edwards: Starting WR
R3 Tanner Muse: Cut, 0 snaps
R4 John Simpson: Backup
R4 Amik Robertson: Benched pic.twitter.com/Db55ZdIVQc
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) November 8, 2021
Gruden’s Email Follies
The NFL world was set on fire when former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was exposed for transgressions via email. His years of racially-charged, misogynistic, and homophobic communications with The Washington Football Team president gave pause.
The Gruden revelations provided a glimpse behind the good old boy culture in the National Football League. Gruden ranted about Michael Sam’s drafting in the NFL as the first openly gay player.
He said that NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith had “rubber lips,” which felt dangerously racial. However, Gruden and his supporters, like Tony Dungy, defended the statement as typical of Gruden’s lexicon.
Gruden resigned from the Las Vegas Raiders to avoid being fired by owner Mark Davis, who made the Raiders’ stance clear of non-support of hate speech.
By Oct. 11, Gruden was gone after the exposure of more of his 2011-2018 emails.
Raiders Ruggs Pulled Out
Then, on Nov. 3, Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was involved in a fatal car accident. Prosecutor accounts reported that Ruggs was arrested after police said he caused a crash going 156 miles per hour.
The crash killed Tina Tintor when Ruggs’ Corvette crashed in the back of her Toyota. Ruggs’ blood-alcohol level was .161 when blood was taken from after the collision. Ruggs now faces four felony charges and could be sentenced to 52 years in prison. In addition, a gun was found in Ruggs’ car. He now faces a misdemeanor also for the gun.
“The felonies are felony DUI, one for the death of the woman, one for the substantial bodily injury of his passenger,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to FOX 5 KVVU TV.
“Each one of those carries a possible prison sentence of two to 20 years in prison, plus two counts of felony reckless driving, those are one to six years in prison.”
When Social Media Strikes
Then Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette posted a video of himself brandishing a gun and threatening someone online last week. The disturbing video cost Arnette his job, as the Raiders waived the 25-year-old this Monday.
Dawg wtf is going on in Las Vegas? Look at Raiders CB Damon Arnette flexing a gun saying he gon kill somebody smh pic.twitter.com/PiJKT5Cyq7
— Robert (5-4) 💔💔⏳ (@RobertRaymond46) November 6, 2021
“Today, we waived Damon Arnette, a very painful decision,” said Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on a Monday conference call.
“We spent significant time, effort and resources trying to help him in all facets of his life. There have been a series of bad decisions over the last year or so, but we can’t stand — we cannot stand — for the video of Damon with a gun, threatening to take a life.”
Both Arnette and Ruggs III were the Raiders’ top two picks from 2020. They have now lost them both.
The Bigger Picture
For a long time, no one believed Las Vegas would ever have a professional sports team. They now have three in three different sports: hockey, women’s basketball, and football.
The results have been great for the city. Las Vegas is attempting to engender a culture that is less gambling-centric and more resident and family-oriented.
Damon Arnette on IG live pic.twitter.com/zsdrVrpcet
— Dre Zini (@Dre_Zini) November 6, 2021
However, aside from Gruden’s history of negativity, the last few gaffes make football look bad in the desert. In the organization’s eyes, the league, and ultimately the city, that won’t do.