Washington Football Team hires first Black team president in NFL history

For nearly two decades, Daniel Synder was in hot water with sports fans and pundits across the nation for refusing to change the name of the now Washington Football Team. However, a historic hire may have earned him and his organization some future good fortune.

The Washington Football Team announced Monday morning the appointment of Jason Wright as their new team president, making him the first Black team president in NFL history. As part of Wright’s role, he’ll oversee and lead the organization’s business divisions, including operations, sales, finance, and marketing. Unlike former team president Bruce Allen, Wright’s responsibilities will not include football or on-field decision, as new head football coach Ron Rivera will assume those tasks. Both will report to team owner Daniel Synder, who expressed his enthusiasm for the hire in a statement released on the team website.

“If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason,” said Washington Football Team owner, Dan Snyder. “His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivaled in the league.”

Wright’s hiring also makes him the youngest team president and the fourth former NFL player to be appointed to the position. He played seven seasons with the league with stints in San Francisco, Atlanta, Cleveland, and Arizona. While he will bring a former player’s perspective to the Washington front office, he’ll also bring a respected business acumen.

After retiring from the NFL in 2011, Wright enrolled at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he obtained his MBA, graduating with high honors. He then went on to become a partner at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm based out of Washington, D.C. According to the team website, while at McKinsey & Company, Wright also helped spearhead the Black Economic Institute for the company. Additionally, he co-piloted their anti-racism and inclusion strategy.

“From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organizations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me,” said Wright in a statement.

“The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organization – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL. As a DMV local and fan, I’ve been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder’s vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with Coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team.”

That future that Wright spoke of includes locating an area for the team to build their new stadium. While the team did not mention this in their released statement, one could surmise Wright will also be a voice during the rebranding of the team. For the 2020 NFL season, the team will go by the Washington Football Team, dropping their “Redskins” nickname. This came after much pressure from sponsors, shareholders, and investors, stating their intentions to dissolve ties to the team in the wake of social and racial justice protests, stemming from the murder of George Floyd.

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