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9 Nov, 2021 15:43

Sin City: After Raiders lose stars to gun threats & fatal car crash, is Las Vegas and its temptations the problem?

Sin City: After Raiders lose stars to gun threats & fatal car crash, is Las Vegas and its temptations the problem?

With the Las Vegas Raiders now losing another player to off-field disciplinary issues, questions are being asked as to whether their new host city, where trouble can be found 24 hours a day, is the right fit for young stars.

Amid their former coach Jon Gruden having to resign after old emails with racist and homophobic content were dug up, the Las Vegas Raiders have had their image further sullied in the past week.

After a 23-year-old woman and her dog were killed in a DUI incident with wide receiver Henry Ruggs – who is facing a possible 46 years behind bars on death and reckless driving charges – it has emerged that cornerback Damon Arnette made death threats on social media while brandishing multiple firearms, as confirmed by general manager Mike Mayock.

"We spent significant time, effort and resources trying to help him in all aspects of his life," said Mayock.

"[But] we cannot stand for the video of Damon with a gun, threatening to take a life."

Due to the serious nature of their incidents, Mayock has been left with no choice but to release the two first-round picks which, after the dismissal of Gruden, sets the Raiders back even further in their quest to build a team worthy of winning a first Super Bowl since 1984. 

After the Raiders relocated from Oakland in January last year, it also raises questions as to whether Sin City was the best choice for the franchise, given the temptations and pitfalls that young players blinded by the trappings of money and fame face round-the-clock there.


This has already been put to Mayock, who first asked himself rhetorically: "Can a country kid live in a big city, or vice versa?"

"We do have to be aware of Vegas. 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."

This is something that UFC president and long-term Vegas resident Dana White would definitely agree with. 

When probed by TMZ on whether moving to Vegas was a misstep by the Raiders, he stressed"People are going to make mistakes, and bad things happen every day, no matter what city you're in."

"Listen, Vegas is a tough city and so is LA.

"Go spend a weekend in LA. It's the same thing. It is what it is."

Also on rt.com Footage shows inferno of fatal car crash with ‘fastest man in NFL’ Henry Ruggs ‘facing 20 YEARS in prison’ after DUI charges

Perhaps there is something in that, with Mayock admitting that "our job is to find the kids that will get past" possibly erring on the wrong side of the law. 

Picking both Ruggs and Arnette personally as college prospects, he has revealed that there were "significant" concerns about the latter's character and conduct before the draft. 

"Obviously, we missed. That is 100% on me," he admitted.

While the country boy lost in the bright lights adage can be applied to Ruggs to an extent, Montgomery, where he grew up, is still Alabama's capital and third most populous city with 200,000 residents and not some backwater with just a church and gas station.

The accusation can definitely not be thrust at Arnette, who was born in Dallas and moved to Fort Lauderdale as a two-year-old.

While it might not be as big as Miami, for example, it is just 25 miles from the Latino-tinged metropolis and part of its metropolitan area of almost 7 million citizens.

Fort Lauderdale recently ranked  as the least safe city in America, and it seems difficult to believe that Arnette would not have been exposed to urban life until hired by the Raiders.

READ MORE: Ex-NFL star accused of killing woman in car crash at 127mph while carrying gun attends court in neck brace, faces 46 YEARS in jail

As opposed to blaming the place, maybe there are wider issues at play.

Perhaps the culture that idolizes talented players since high school – where they can even be found in televised games broadcast to the nation on ESPN, which chooses a player of the week – and then through the college system does little to deflate egos.

Neither do the bumper contracts they are offered, nor the countless examples they see in wider society where, regardless of race, having enough cash can pretty much get you out of any problem you encounter no matter how serious. 

By Tom Sanderson 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.