LAS VEGAS — In the past six months, at least five NFL players have been arrested in this draft city widely known as the capital of parties and tourism.
Yet despite the cases and challenges that come with having a team and major events in a freewheeling destination known for its luxurious nightclubs, loose open container laws, and 24-hour availability of alcohol and gambling, the NFL’s position is that it should treat Las Vegas no differently than any other city that hosts the league.
Cathy Lanier, NFL chief safety officer, said the arrests did not prompt a discussion about implementing additional safety policies or taking other action.
On Monday, a judge postponed a court hearing for the second time for Alvin Kamara, the star running back for the New Orleans Saints accused of assaulting a man at a nightclub on Feb. 5. Kamara and three others faced charges stemming from a fight before the Pro Bowl, which was held in Las Vegas the week before the Super Bowl. In an incident report, police charged Kamara and three other men with punching and stomping on a man and fracturing his orbital bone.
David Chesnoff, an attorney for Kamara, declined to comment on Friday.
Kamara played in the NFL All-Star Game the day after the alleged fight and was arrested after the game.
The Raiders in November 2021 released receiver Henry Ruggs III, a 2020 first-round pick, after he crashed his car into 23-year-old Tina Tintor’s vehicle, killing her and her dog when her car caught fire and injured his girlfriend. , Kiara Washington.
Ruggs was charged with two counts of driving under the influence and two counts of reckless driving and possession of a firearm under the influence. He did not enter a plea in the case. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 16, according to court records. Chesnoff, who also represents Ruggs, declined to comment on the matter.
Kansas City released cornerback Damon Arnette in January after he was charged with threatening valets with a gun at a Las Vegas hotel. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 26, according to court records. The Raiders drafted Arnette in the first round in 2020 but released him in November 2021, citing a video that surfaced on social media in which Arnette appeared to be brandishing a gun and making a threat.
Arnette’s attorney, Ross Goodman, did not respond to a request for comment.
Nate Hobbs, a cornerback for the Raiders, pleaded guilty to careless driving, a misdemeanor charge, in January after he was found asleep in his vehicle on an exit ramp in a parking lot at the Cromwell Hotel earlier this month. there, registering a blood alcohol level of 0.07%, just below the Nevada legal limit of 0.08%.
The Raiders did not respond to a request for comment.
Lanier said the incidents were troubling, but not inherent in Las Vegas.
“I think the cases that happened there are unfortunate, but unfortunately those circumstances can happen anywhere,” Lanier said in an interview.
The NFL avoided Las Vegas for decades, mostly because of legalized sports betting in Nevada. In 2007, the league suspended cornerback Adam Jones for one season for misconduct that included a role in a fight at a Las Vegas strip club during NBA All-Star Weekend. Three people were shot, and Jones received a year’s probation as part of a plea deal.
In 2017, the team’s owners approved the Raiders’ move from Oakland, California after its failed comeback attempt in Los Angeles. The league has embraced Las Vegas even more after a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a ban on marketed sports betting in most states. The league awarded the city the draft for this year and the Super Bowl in 2024.
Still, NFL players and staff are prohibited from entering the sportsbooks during the season except to briefly pass through to access approved areas, such as hotel rooms. League employees who are not players are not allowed to bet on sports at all, while players are allowed to bet on games in other leagues. The NFL Players Association, the union that represents players, also offers a prearranged driving service to discourage drunk driving.
According to a league spokesperson, 32 NFL players have been arrested in 2021. There are more than 1,600 active NFL players on the rosters.
Lanier said that because only a small percentage of players have been arrested, she doesn’t think it’s necessary to regulate athletes or employees differently from city to city due to varying entertainment offerings.
“Policy is policy and what we ask our employees to follow is as important in Detroit as it is in Las Vegas,” Lanier said. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure everyone has all the tools they need to make a good decision, wherever they are.”
Tommy Burns, former police chief of Henderson, Nevada, a Las Vegas suburb of about 300,000 and current security consultant for some casinos, said in his experience athletes cause fewer problems in nightlife venues than the general population. Although Las Vegas is known for its reputation as Sin City, Burns said he doesn’t think it deserves any special attention from the NFL.
“Players who are in trouble are going to be in trouble no matter where they are, whether it’s New York, New Orleans or Miami,” Burns said. “I don’t think you can tie it up and say, ‘Damn, the Raiders are in Vegas now, they’re going to cause trouble. “”