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Steve Wynn on his Raiders torch-lighting appearance: ‘I loved it’

Updated September 26, 2021 - 10:41 pm

Steve Wynn ventured back into the public eye on Sunday, lighting the Al Davis Memorial Torch prior to the Las Vegas Raiders game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium.

The ex-casino mogul was met with mostly cheers.

Moments after the ceremonial event, Wynn was asked what he thought of his reception.

“I loved it,” he responded, with his wife, Andrea, at his side as the couple walked past hundreds of fans craning for pics and video. “This is America. Everybody here is all different colors, having a ball. That’s Las Vegas.”

Both Wynns wore No. 21 Raiders home jerseys, the number made famous by NFL legend Cliff Branch, with “WYNN” stitched across the back.

A video mentioning that support played as a way to warm up the crowd. There was no mention of Wynn’s resignation from his company, Wynn Resorts, in February 2018, as a result of a series of accusations of sexual harassment and coercion against female employees.

Wynn, who who developed The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas-Encore, has consistently denied the allegations.

Sunday’s appearance was Wynn’s first public event in Las Vegas since he left his company. He was asked if his participation at Allegiant Stadium was a step in his return to public life, a Steve Wynn Comeback Tour, as it were.

“No, I am a private citizen,” he said. Wynn is focusing primarily on his art collection, and operates Wynn Fine Art gallery in Palm Beach, Fla. “I’m just enjoying Las Vegas being an all-American city.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis tapped Wynn for the honor as a tribute to the resort mogul’s early support of moving the team to Las Vegas. His activism on behalf of Vegas landing an NFL team dates to 2016.

Wynn followed former Nevada governor and current University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval and Dr. Miriam Adelson, the co-founder of the Adelson Family Foundation and widow of Sheldon Adelson, as torch-lighters for Raiders home games this year.

While in office, Sandoval called a the special legislative session in October 2016 to open dialogue about an NFL team moving to Las Vegas. Wynn attended that session.

Sheldon Adelson’s initial partnership with the Raiders, since dissolved, led to legislative support for a hotel room tax increase that helped fund construction of Allegiant Stadium, leading to the team’s move from Oakland.

The torch is actually a 93-foot-tall attraction made of aluminum and titanium, billed as the largest 3-D printed item ever. The “lighting” is actually enacted by a remote device from a podium in front of the torch.

The Wynns faced out toward the packed crowd for the event.

Wynn did say he and his wife are “doing great, enjoying the heck out of life.”

“The last three years have been the happiest of my life, thanks to Andrea,” he said. “I’m just here to enjoy this unbelievable event with 65,000 other people, watching the Las Vegas NFL team.”

Swimming with Dolphins

Westgate Las Vegas founder David Siegel has been in town this weekend, visiting from his estate in Orlando. Siegel is a famous fan of the fins, Dolphins specifically, as an original ticket-holder for the team’s 1966 expansion season.

During the hotel’s Super Bowl LII party in 2018, Dolphins great Bob Griese recalled Siegel’s interest in the team.

“David had the first four season tickets in the history of the franchise,” Griese recalled. “He knows all the players. He’s a real fan.”

Late Sunday night, Siegel texted, “I bought four the day before they went onsale to the public.”

The Dolphins and Raiders were rivals in the old AFL, which is how Siegel met Raiders former owner Al Davis. The Davis and Siegel families became friends, and remain so today.

Siegel did not attend Sunday’s game at Allegiant stadium, however. He’s recently recovered from COVID and opted to watch the game from his home stadium — the Westgate.

Flores’ flourish

Brian Flores, grandson of recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and Raiders legend Tom Flores and his wife, Barbara, performed the national anthem Sunday. The younger Flores lives in New York and has become a stage and TV star.

Flores has performed at the renowned Ars Nova off-Broadway theater in the premiere of “Oratorio for Living Things” by Heather Christian. He also starred in “Pippin’s” first national tour, directed by Diane Paulus.

Flores is also in the third-season casts of “The Deuce” on HBO, and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”on Amazon.

No Otto

Keyboard great Otto Ehling was unable to play in David Perrico’s House Band on Sunday, suffering from a back ailment. But Ehling wants a replica jersey of a Raiders legend he’s just learned about. We’ll let the fans sort out who it is.

The Shunock Shift

A nod to Mark Shunock, who for the first time performed as in-game announcer for both the Raiders and Vegas Golden Knights on the same day. Shunock has plans Monday, too.

Cool Hang Alert

Shunock hosts a night of Tina Turner and George Michael during Mondays Dark at The Space. The show starts at 8 p.m. Monday (natch), a benefit for Hope for Prisoners. Hit Mondaysdark.com for info.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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