*Washington Football Team president Jason Wright acknowledges the basic nature of the franchise’s interim name, but says he doesn’t “think it’s that weird.”
In an interview with Jim VandeHei on “Axios on HBO,” Wright says he came from the “bubble” that considered the old name derogatory, but upon moving into his new role he “found out that the debate of folks closer to it was much more nuanced than that.”
He added that “the right thing is to move forward into a new name, brand, and identity that captures the best parts of our history and allows us to innovate and move into the future.”
Wright, the NFL’s first Black team president, told “Axios on HBO” that systemic racism — or racial bias, as he prefers to call it — exists everywhere but is “more obvious” in the NFL.
“I think [systemic racism] is more obvious because 70% of the men on the field are Black men, right? So I think it just, the optics of it are different,” Wright said. He added, “I’ve experienced racial bias … through high school, college, and definitely in my professional career.”
“When you have any moment of accomplishment, accolade, appointment … the first question in people’s minds is, ‘Is this tokenism? Is this a PR stunt? Do they deserve it?,'” he said. “No matter what the track record was before … It’s something that every Black professional experiences at some level.”
Wright, 38, played in the league from 2004-10 as a running back for the Falcons, Browns and Cardinals, serving as the Cardinals’ union rep during the 2011 lockout before retiring. He earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2013. He became a partner in the Operations Practice at the consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, where he specialized in organizational diversity and inclusion.
Watch excerpts from the interview below: