Former Raiders HR Member Says Employees Were 'Let Go' If They Raised Complaints

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2022

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 12: A view of Las Vegas Raiders helmets before an NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs on Dec 12, 2021 at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A former Las Vegas Raiders human resources employee alleged this week that the organization created a toxic work environment.

Speaking to Ken Belson, Jenny Vrentas and Kevin Draper of the New York Times, Nicole Adams said of the Raiders, "If anyone complained, they were let go."

Adams, who worked for the Raiders for nearly five years, added that she was pushed out of the organization in 2020 but decided against signing a severance agreement since it would have prevented her from talking about her time with the Raiders.

In the New York Times article, it is alleged that when Raiders employees brought up concerns about the team's operations, they were "often ignored or pushed out and given settlements and nondisclosure agreements to keep them quiet."

Adams also said former Raiders executive Dan Ventrelle "joked he would be ready to settle if anyone came forward with a charge" during his time with the team.

Ventrelle joined the then-Oakland Raiders in 2003 and eventually rose to the title of executive vice president and general counsel. After team president Marc Badain resigned in July 2021, Ventrelle became interim president, and he was promoted to full-time president at the end of the 2021 season.

Less than a year after Ventrelle took the role, Raiders owner Mark Davis released a statement last week announcing that Ventrelle was no longer with the organization:

Las Vegas Raiders @Raiders

<a href="https://t.co/0NekZCsy3o">pic.twitter.com/0NekZCsy3o</a>

Ventrelle subsequently released said he was fired after taking employee complaints to the NFL after Davis was dismissive of them.

According to Vincent Bonsignore and Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ventrelle said in a statement:

"I have committed almost 18 years of my life to the success of the Raiders as general counsel and president. I take that responsibility very seriously, which is why multiple written complaints from employees that Mark created a hostile work environment and engaged in other potential misconduct caused me grave concern.

"[He] did not demonstrate the warranted level of concern. Given this, I informed the NFL of these issues and of Mark's unacceptable response. Soon thereafter, I was fired in retaliation for raising these concerns."

Ventrelle added: "I firmly stand by my decision to elevate these issues to protect the organization and its female employees. I remain committed to doing everything in my power to support the Raiders and the Las Vegas community I now call home."

A statement from the NFL said it "recently became aware of these allegations and take them very seriously."

The Raiders are about seven months removed from Jon Gruden resigning as head coach of the team after the discovery of him using anti-gay and misogynistic language in emails.

At the conclusion of the 2021 season, the Raiders hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as their new head coach and former Patriots executive Dave Ziegler as their general manager.

The Raiders have yet to publicly comment on Ventrelle's allegations, and the exact nature of the allegations made by Raiders employees has yet to be made public as well.