Opinion: A fumble on morals: Vegas stars released from franchise


Photo by Anelale Nájera via Unsplash.com

A loyal Raiders fan reminisces on the memories the franchise provided him before Henry Ruggs, Damon Arnette and Head Coach Jon Gruden parted ways.

Alex Hunter, Copy Editor

The National Football League (NFL) has boasted fame and riches for decades. Players’ well-upholstered contracts allow them to live lavishly for the rest of their lives. This vanity, established by the league, has led to players making decisions neither the media nor their franchises want advertised. 

The Las Vegas Raiders released both of their 2020 first-round picks after their first year with the team. This was no coincidence though; Henry Ruggs, star wide receiver, along with Damon Arnette, talented cornerback, were both involved in violent incidents in the month of November. 

The glorification of NFL stars has resulted in unjust decision-making of players for years.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 2, 2021, Ruggs drove intoxicated and fatally killed a woman and her dog in Las Vegas. A news report went into detail regarding the crash.“During Ruggs’ appearance in court on Wednesday morning, Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman said that Ruggs was traveling at 156 mph before the crash and had a blood-alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit,” it said. 

Despite Ruggs’ loads of talent on the field, his actions will certainly affect younger athletes. A superstar millions looked up to has turned into a criminal, and that will reflect on generations of athletes to come.

Arnette, on the other hand, is facing a civil lawsuit while being accused of threatening acts. The first accusation was a hit and run in 2020. Arnette was late to a team endeavor and made a dangerous last-second turn at nearly 65 miles per hour, hitting a car and fleeing the scene. The second incident occurred more recently. Arnette brandished a gun on an Instagram live video, threatening to kill someone with it. 

Senior and Raiders aficionado Carter Carroll described how these incidents along with others in the franchise can affect a fan base containing a variety of different groups, specifically young people.“I mean what Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette contributed to the franchise was significant, but if they cannot be held accountable to set a good example for their fans, they have the wrong goals in mind,” he said. “At that point, they are showing young people who follow the Raiders, making radical decisions is acceptable if you are a part of some sort of hierarchy.”

Nonetheless, Ruggs and Arnette made unjustifiable decisions that ended both of the players’ careers, something the youth of sports could reflect upon. 

Many have attributed the association’s influx of scandal to the transition from Oakland to the populous and appealing city of Las Vegas.

Mike Maycock, current General Manager of the Raiders, voiced his prior concerns about the young prospects following the incidents. Specifically, Maycock made his statement concerning the relocation from the average-sized city of Oakland to Las Vegas; how this affected his players, only members of the franchise can fully understand. 

“Can a country kid live in a big city or vice versa? … We do have to be aware of Vegas,” he said. “But my thing is this – in just about any mid- to big-sized city in the country, if you want to find trouble, you can find it. And our job is to find the kids that will get past that.”

As the Raiders put pressure on what presents itself as an endless bleeding wound, the youth of football must learn from the second-year players’ mishaps. Many lessons can be extracted from the Las Vegas Raider’s rough 2021 outing, the most valuable being the importance of self-control to omit impulsive decisions from life.