LAS VEGAS – In the last six months, at least five NFL players have been arrested in this draft city known widely as a party and tourism capital.
Yet despite the cases and challenges that come with having a team and major events in a freewheeling destination known for its ritzy nightclubs, loose open-container laws and the 24-hour availability of drinking and gambling, the NFL’s position is that it should not treat Las Vegas differently from any other cities that host the league.
Cathy Lanier, the NFL’s chief security officer, said the arrests had not created a discussion about putting in place any additional security policies or taking other actions.
On Monday, a judge for the second time postponed a court hearing for Alvin Kamara, the old New Orleans Saints running back who is accused of assaulting a man in a nightclub on Feb. 5. Kamara and three others faced charges stemming from a fight just before the Pro Bowl, which was held in Las Vegas the week before the Super Bowl. In an incident report, the police accused Kamara and three other men of punching and stomping on a man and fracturing his orbital bone.
David Chesnoff, a lawyer for Kamara, declined to comment on Friday.
Kamara played in the NFL’s 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 first-round draft pick in 2020, after he crashed his car into the vehicle of Tina Tintor, 23, killing her and her dog when her car burst into flames, and injuring his girlfriend , Kiara Washington.
Ruggs was charged with two felony counts of driving under the influence and two felony counts of reckless driving and possessing a gun while under the influence. He has not entered 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 about the case.
Kansas City released a cornerback Damon Arnette in January after he was accused of threatening valet drivers with a gun at a Las Vegas hotel. His next court date 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 brandish a gun and make a threat.
Arnette’s attorney, Ross Goodman, did not respond to a request for comment.
Nate Hobbs, a Raiders cornerback, 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 garage at the Cromwell hotel earlier that month, registering a blood-alcohol level of 0.07 percent, just below the legal limit in Nevada of 0.08 percent.
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 instances that did occur there are unfortunate, but unfortunately those circumstances can happen anywhere,” Lanier said in an interview.
The NFL for decades avoided Las Vegas, mainly because of Nevada’s legalized gambling on sports. In 2007, the league suspended cornerback Adam Jones for a season for misbehavior that included a role in a fight at a Las Vegas strip club during the NBA’s All-Star weekend. Three people were shot, and Jones was given a year of probation as part of a plea agreement.
In 2017, the team owners approved the Raiders’ relocation from Oakland, Calif., After its failed bid to return to Los Angeles. The league embraced Las Vegas even more after a US Supreme Court ruling in 2018 that struck down a ban on commercialized 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 sports books 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 the players, also offers a prearranged driving service to discourage drunken driving.
According to a league spokesman, 32 NFL players were arrested in 2021, and there are more than 1,600 active NFL players on rosters.
Lanier said that because only a small percentage of players had been arrested, she did not think it was necessary to regulate athletes or employees differently from one city to another because of varied entertainment offers.
“The policy is the policy and what we are asking our employees to comply with is as important in Detroit as it is in Las Vegas,” Lanier said. “We put a lot of effort into making sure everybody has all the tools they need to make a good decision no matter where they are.”
Tommy Burns, a former police chief of Henderson, Nev., A Las Vegas suburb of about 300,000 people and a current security consultant for some casino resorts, said that in his experience athletes cause less trouble at nightlife venues compared to the general population. Though Las Vegas is known for its Sin City reputation, Burns said he doesn’t think it merits unique attention from the NFL
“The players that get in trouble are going to get 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 in and say, ‘Geez, the Raiders are in Vegas now, they’re going to cause trouble.'”