Mark Davis’ Las Vegas fantasy could be a real nightmare for the image-concious National Football League.
Monday, Mr. Davis, the Oakland Raiders Owner, will stand with (reportedly) Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson, and watch Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval sign the SB1 Bill that was passed by an exhausted Nevada Senate last week, and has within it the much-sought-after $750 million stadium construction subsidy.When he does, Mark Davis will have officially attached himself to Mr. Adelson as a business partner.Considering Adelson’s casino background and recent legal scandals, it’s a good idea Davis read the NFL Compliance Plan.The plan, established by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on July of 2015 (just last year), has a detailed set of policies regarding such matters as corruption, and business opportunities.
It’s the corruption area Davis will find of note, because many say that Las Vegas Sands has dirty hands (particularly in the matter of the persistent money-laundering claims that dog him and his organization)Because Adelson’s corporation seeks to do business with the NFL, and he has stated his interest in becoming an owner of the Oakland Raiders, the NFL Compliance Plan becomes of import.
This is written under E – Anti-Corruption: “It is a violation of NFL policy to offer bribes and other improper advantages in connection with the activities of the NFL. The NFL is committed to complying with anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, including the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act. Bribery, kickbacks, and other improper inducements to government officials, business partners, vendors, and suppliers are prohibited. No employee, agent, or representative worldwide may offer, promise, pay, or authorize any financial or other advantage or anything else of value to any person or organization with the intent to exert improper influence over the recipient, induce the recipient to violate his or her duties, or secure an improper advantage for the NFL or its member clubs. All employees are further prohibited from demanding, agreeing to receive, or accepting a bribe, kickback, or any other improper financial or other advantage.”
It’s ultimately the decision of NFL Legal as to how to evaluate the actions of Las Vegas Sands but by the definition of the word “agent” the casino company is just that with respect to the Raiders. That is Las Vegas Sands is, with respect to the Oakland Raiders “a person or thing that causes something to happen” – and that something is ostensibly a new NFL stadium in Las Vegas.
After the Nevada Assembly vote last week, it was widely reported that lobbyists under the LV Sands payroll acted, in some cases, like bullies, and overall what they gave Nevada Senators and Assemblypeople can’t be reported, even if it was a conflict of interest – they signed a legal provision protecting them from that under Nevada Law. An act that caused the Twitterverse paying attention to the hashtag #nvLeg to rain negative tweets down, all over the place.
Buy the time the vote was finally taken, and after it had been delayed by the revelation that the Governor of Nevada had a Nevada Department of Transportation traffic study of the Las Vegas NFL Stadium Proposal in his possession and since October 4th (the Nevada Legislature met a week ago October 11th)
That study reads that there will have to be $900 million in road and freeway upgrades just to handle the traffic espected from the stadium. The news of that filled the Assembly, and caused a lot of angry reactions and hurt feelings. So many that when the bill passed last Friday, there wasn’t a clap in the room. A number of seasoned reporters outside of those who work for the one publication owned by Las Vegas Sands, The Las Vegas Review Journal, wrote or tweeted that they had never seen so many who were not happy about the decision they made, but felt, for various reasons, they had not choice but to do it.
Welcome to Nevada and Las Vegas Politics.
But what happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas, and is not NFL Policy. The NFL Compliance Plan has other areas that apply to the Raiders / Las Vegas Sands relationships. Altogether, this is in addition to the need for the Raiders to obtain a two-thirds vote of the NFL Ownership to relocate from Oakland.
And then, there’s the matter of the NFL Constitution and the NFL Relocation Policy and whether or not Las Vegas actually fits as a real relocation candidate. The consideration of whether there is what the policy calls a “compelling” reason to move to Las Vegas will be front and center – and the answer is no, there is not one.
The NFL Bylaws also call for the Raiders to have a good relationship with the home community, Oakland, and there are many examples where the Raiders have not worked to have this with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Now that Adelson, a Donald Trump-supporter, is involved, Trump’s many negative associations with women can and will also come into consideration by the media. Will this rub off on Davis and if so, why? Overall, this could degenerate into something that embarrasses the NFL – a clear violation of the NFL Compliance Plan.
The Raiders can stay in Oakland, and behind the scenes, are working on staying. Mark Davis should cut his Las Vegas losses because The NFL Compliance Plan will, behind the scenes, play a powerful roll in Mark Davis; team playing ball in Oakland and not Las Vegas.