Summer 2024

Ravens Benjamin Watson discusses NFL playing games in Las Vegas

The Oakland Raiders will soon be the Las Vegas Raiders. On Monday, the NFL announced that their owners garnered enough votes to approve the move to Southern Nevada.

The NFL lifestyle brings about it’s challenges and temptations. Money and fame are there. The glorification of the athlete by fans and the media is constant. Players are being pulled in a million different directions, all because of the jersey they wear, and the job that they have.

Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson addressed the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas with a simple message on character.

Not everybody agreed with his twitter post. Former NFL defensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Anthony “Booger” MacFarland responded so his tweet.


When reached by text today, Watson explained in more detail what his ultimate concern was with NFL players playing in Las Vegas.

“I’m not really more concerned than I would be for any other group of players coaches and staff. My desire is for men to be responsible husbands, fathers, teammates, and friends. And that can be done in Vegas or in Mayberry. Positive and negative influences abound no matter where you reside. Our character ultimately determines what we decide to give ourselves to and indulge in. Living in a city with a reputation for “sin” and partying doesn’t  inherently mean that every person will suddenly be entirely consumed. (I know this because I lived in NOLA and loved it for a bunch of reasons. I also know plenty of people who call Vegas home.) However, for those who want to engage, Las Vegas offers what ever our heart’s desire more readily and more often than other cities. We all are drawn to different temptations. Sex, power, business, busyness, money or entertainment. For some, living in Vegas will be the type of test that reveals their character and possibly strengthens it. For others it has the potential for disaster.”

Watson, who came into the NFL in 2004, has become a prominent voice both in and out of the league when it comes to issues of race, religion and politics. His book Under Our Skin birthed from a viral facebook post he wrote in 2014 after the Ferguson, Missouri decision. The book dives into the deep discussion of race in our country through the eyes of the Gospel.

Even though Las Vegas is known as “Sin City”, the same temptations and sin that exist in Las Vegas exist in most cities you go to. But, as Watson says, sometimes that character is challenged more frequently in certain locations.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Sportique)