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Washington signs first black president in NFL


FILE – In a Jan. 19, 2011 file photo, then-running back Jason Wright, center, of the Arizona Cardinals speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.


The team now called Washington Football Team on Monday hired former player Jason Wright as its president, an appointment that makes him the first black person to assume that position in NFL history.

At 38, he will also be the youngest president in the NFL and will take charge of the organization’s business operations while coach Ron Rivera will maintain control of sports decisions.

Wright, who was running back for seven years with Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, was captain with the Cardinals and their representative in the players’ union during labor negotiations in 2010 and 2011.

“If I could tailor a leader for this important moment in our history, it would be Jason,” said Dan Snyder, owner of the team. “His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective like no other in the league.”

The hiring represents another significant change for Snyder, who in the last nine months fired president and confidant Bruce Allen after another losing season, signed Rivera, renewed the team’s board of directors and medical staff, gave in to pressure from sponsors. to stop using the name “Redskins” and has been forced to confront allegations by former employees of sexual harassment by members of the organization.

As part of the national debate on racism after the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota, Rivera also introduced internal initiatives that are intended to guide players and staff and allow minority voices to be heard. Wright seems to fit in there too.

“Jason has a proven track record in helping businesses transform culturally, operationally and financially,” Snyder stressed. “He is a proactive and determined advocate for inclusiveness and will set new standards for our organization and for the league.”

The team, which has its roots in Boston in the 1930s and won three Super Bowl titles long ago, is going through a phase of transformation. It will be known as the “Washington Football Team” for at least the 2020 season, and it will be Executive Vice President Terry Bateman who will lead the process of determining a new name. Snyder is also looking to have a new stadium completed once the FedEx Field lease expires in 2027.

“I’ve always enjoyed building something new and facing difficult and seemingly insoluble challenges that others wouldn’t want to tackle,” said Wright, the fourth former NFL player to be named a team president.