Jason Wright Hired as Washington Football Team’s New President, Becomes the First Black Person to Hold That Title
Jason Wright said it’s a “new day” for the NFL after being hired as team president of the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins. He’s now the first African-American in NFL history to hold a team president position.
Wright, a former NFL running back, will be in charge of the organization’s business divisions including, operations, marketing, sales, and finance. He said it’s an ideal opportunity to combine his background in football and business, since he attended the University of Chicago to earn his MBA after retiring from the NFL nine years ago.
At 38 years old, Wright is the youngest person to become a team president in NFL history and just the fourth ex-NFL player to hold that title.
“It’s a huge moment to bring those two worlds together,” he told ESPN. “What other job would they come together at such a unique time for an organization at the point our team is? I’m just happy I landed in this role at that time. There are other reasons it’s historic, but that’s a byproduct of me being the right and qualified candidate at this time. All of that is just icing on the cake.”
Wright’s hiring is just one example of the major change that’s currently sweeping through the Washington organization. In July, the team said they were changing their name from the Washington Redskins after being told for many years that the name is offensive to Native Americans and overtly racist.
Team owner Daniel Snyder had long refused to change the name but buckled after George Floyd died in May and protests against systemic racism began.
Wright says that his hiring represents the first few bricks being removed from a wall that’s kept Blacks from having an equal chance at securing high-level front office positions.
He hopes that other NFL teams will now follow suit and that old wall will eventually be toppled. The NFL has been constantly criticized for lacking diversity in its head coaching and executive positions.
“What it tries to signal is that, at least in this organization, the hindrances that tend to be in place around Black talent in other places are breaking down and that should send a signal more broadly to the shift in culture that Dan and Tanya Snyder, Coach Rivera and myself are now trying to make,” said Wright, referring to Ron Rivera, who is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent and was hired as the team’s head coach earlier this year.
“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,” added Wright.
After graduating from Northwestern University, Wright entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2004. From there, he played for the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals before retiring in 2011.
Wright then worked for McKinsey & Company in Washington, D.C., a global management consulting firm.
“If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason,” said Snyder in a press release. “His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivaled in the league. We will not rest until we are a championship caliber team, on and off the field.”