Washington has hired Jason Wright as team president, making him the first Black team president in NFL history and only the fourth former player to ascend to that role.
More than any historic aspect, Wright said that what excites him is the convergence of his two worlds: football and business.
“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.”
But Wright said he understands the significance of his hiring.
“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,” he said, “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.”
Washington had been without a president since Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season. The team hired coach Ron Rivera and gave him full power, as owner Dan Snyder said he wanted a coach-centric approach.
Wright’s hiring won’t change that, as he won’t be involved in the football side like Allen was during his 10-year reign. Wright, 38, will focus only on the business side, including operations, finance, sales and marketing. Like Rivera, he will report directly to Snyder.
“[Rivera] is the chief executive of everything that happens on the football side, and I run the business side,” Wright said. “It’s super clear.”
Wright said he began talking with Snyder fairly recently about the job and called it a whirlwind.
“You could say there’s a lot going on, you sure you want to take this on? Yeah, absolutely,” Wright said. “Their actions] made me really confident I could come in here and effect change, that I’d have the ability and autonomy to make real change.”
He also embraces the challenge of coming to the NFL while facing the obstacles of a pandemic and at a time when “the Washington Football Team is at a unique moment, and the NFL, for better or worse, is at the center of so much important dialogue around the role of sport, the players finding their voice about the things they care about.”
Wright will be tasked with helping to change the culture in Washington. Another challenge will be to help locate an area to build a new stadium. Washington has been trying to find a spot in Virginia, Maryland or the District of Columbia for several years. The lease on the land at FedEx Field expires after the 2027 season.
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