ASHBURN, Va. (WAVY) — The Washington Football Team made a historic announcement on Monday, naming former player Jason Wright the NFL’s first ever Black team president.
Wright, a former running back who was with the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals, is now the youngest president in the league at 38 years old.
“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,” Wright said in a statement.
Wright is a Northwestern University and University of Chicago Booth School of Business alumnus and served as a team captain and NFLPA player representative for the Arizona Cardinals during the 2011 NFL lockout. He’ll be responsible for several areas, including sales, marketing and operations.
“If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason. His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivaled in the league,” said Washington Football Team owner, Dan Snyder. “We will not rest until we are a championship caliber team, on and off the field. Jason has a proven track record in helping businesses transform culturally, operationally and financially. He is a proactive and assertive advocate for inclusion of all people and will set new standards for our organization, and for the league. There could not be a better duo than Jason Wright and Coach Ron Rivera as we usher in a new era for Washington Football.”
New head coach Ron Rivera added: “I remember Jason as a player, and it is no surprise to me that he went on to achieve the caliber of success that Jason has in his time in the business world. From my conversations with his former teammates and coaches plus my own with Jason, I have come to see that we share many of the same core values and beliefs. Because he knows the NFL firsthand and how fast it moves, I am excited to have him on board to head up the front office and operations, so that I can focus on what’s most important to the fans in our community – winning football games.”
The hiring is another significant change for Snyder, who has in the past nine months fired president and longtime confidant Bruce Allen after another losing season, hired Rivera, revamped the front office and medical staffs, bowed to pressure from sponsors to drop the name “Redskins” and been forced to confront allegations of sexual harassment by members of the organization from former employees.
As part of the national debate over racism following George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minnesota, Rivera also launched internal initiatives aimed at educating players and staff and allowing minorities’ voices to be heard. Wright seems to fit into that, as well.
“Jason has a proven track record in helping businesses transform culturally, operationally and financially,” Snyder said. “He is a proactive and assertive advocate for inclusion of all people and will set new standards for our organization, and for the league.”
The club with a storied history dating to its Boston roots in the 1930s and three long-ago Super Bowl titles is in a phase of transformation. It will be called the “Washington Football Team” for at least the 2020 season, with Terry Bateman spearheading the process to determine a new full-time name. Snyder is also seeking a new stadium to be in place when the lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027.
Wright is the fourth former player to become a team president and does so after several years in business. He earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s business school and joins the organization after working at a strategy and management consulting firm in Washington, D.C.
He called this an “ideal opportunity and said, “I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle.”
Wright, like Rivera, will report directly to Snyder while overseeing Washington’s operations, finance, sales and marketing departments. Rivera, who was a defensive coordinator in Chicago and San Diego at the time, said he remembers Wright as a player and has grown to realize the two share many of the same values that should help them work together.
“It is no surprise to me that he went on to achieve the caliber of success that Jason has in his time in the business world,” Rivera said. “Because he knows the NFL firsthand and how fast it moves, I am excited to have him on board to head up the front office and operations.”
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