Washington football team hires first Black president in NFL history

August 20, 2020

Jason Wright

For the first time in league history, an NFL team has a Black president.

On Monday, August 17, 2020, the Washington football organization welcomed Jason Wright, a 38-year-old former NFL running back, to a role “responsible for leading the organization’s business divisions, including operations, finance, sales, and marketing,” according to a new release from the franchise.

Wright spent seven years — from 2004 to 2011 — in the backfield for four teams: the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. Following his retirement as a player, the former Northwestern Wildcat went on to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago.

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

Last month the Washington football franchise announced the retirement of the Redskins team name, a decision that followed what the organization called a “thorough review” that came “in light of events in the country and feedback from our community.” In May, the killing of George Floyd — an unarmed Black man — set off a national response, resulting in coast-to-coast protests and a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three months later, the football team from Washington is without its oft-criticized, racially insensitive moniker, and with a Black president for the first time ever.

“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 of his appointment.

At 38, Wright is the youngest team president in NFL history, and only the fourth former player to assume the role. A year ago, Washington finished 3-13, with an 0-6 record in the NFC East, and missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.