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Las Vegas Raiders boss under investigation over illegal under-the-table payments for WNBA stars

las vegas raiders, las vegas aces
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has developed a reputation for doing whatever it takes to pursue star players for his teams. On occasion, those tactics border on illegal, and it seems the 67-year-old might have crossed the line to make several splashes in the WNBA.

Like his father Al Davis, Mark Davis is not opposed to taking bold steps when it comes to the franchises he owns. He moved his legendary Oakland football team, the Raiders, to Las Vegas to be the first major professional sports franchise in the gambling capital of North America, and even brought back former head coach Jon Gruden a few seasons back.

However, sometimes his decisions have gotten him or his teams in hot water. Gruden was forced out of his position after causing a scandal with a series of insensitive emails, and last year the Las Vegas Raiders boss was linked to back channel conversations to try and bring Tom Brady to Nevada before he left the New England Patriots back in 2020.

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Well, it seems Davis is in a bit of trouble again with his strategies to upgrade his teams, but this time it is outside the football world and in the WNBA.

Las Vegas Raiders boss under investigation by WNBA

las vegas raiders, las vegas aces
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, women’s basketball news outlet The Next reported that Mark Davis’ WNBA team the Las Vegas Aces is under “investigation by the WNBA for making under-the-table payment offers to both current players and free agents the team has pursued.”

According to as many as nine sources familiar with the situation, the alleged illegal maneuverings by the team would see a high-ranking member of the Aces organization alert the agent for a player target that they would receive “an offer for a specific amount of money from a particular, pre-selected company” following a call between the two sides.

The action would specifically violate Article XV of the WNBA’s CBA, where Section 1(b) specifically outlines the idea of payments to a player or agent from a third party on behalf of a team. It is unclear what the penalty could be for the Las Vegas Aces but it likely would be very severe.

WNBA free agency has made headlines this winter with several teams signing stars to form super-teams to contend for the 2023 WNBA title. Most notable was the New York Liberty’s signing of Seattle Storm superstar Breanna Stewart.

However, many of the players that jumped to other teams are believed to have taken pay cuts to do so. This situation certainly would put a spotlight on the truth of that fact and the low pay rate for WNBA talent.

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