Sports Spectrum Weekly

Washington's Jason Wright follows Christ as he becomes NFL's first Black team president

The Washington Football Team made a historic hire Monday when it announced former NFL running back Jason Wright as its new president. He becomes the first Black team president in NFL history, and at 38 years old becomes the youngest active team president in the league.

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Wright will be in charge of  leading the organization’s business divisions, including operations, finance, sales and marketing. He leaves his role as a partner in McKinsey & Company’s Washington D.C. office, where his consulting work helped large, complex organizations through operations and culture transformations.

The hire was widely praised around the league as Wright did a number of interviews Monday.

“For me it’s personal and it’s an opportunity to bring together my two worlds (business and sports) in a really unique way at a really unique time,” Wright told “Good Morning America.” “And the fact that I happen to be Black and the most qualified person for this is a boost.”

Wright spent seven years as a running back in the NFL, with the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals. He was a team captain and NFLPA player representative for the Cardinals during the 2011 NFL Lockout.

This came after his time at Northwestern University, where he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection, an Academic All-American, and earned a bachelors degree in psychology. He later earned an MBA in operations and finance from the University of Chicago-Booth School of Business.

Wright is also a follower of Christ. While at Northwestern, he was president of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and was a spiritual leader on his team. After concluding his college career in the 2003 Motor City Bowl, in which he gained 336 all-purpose yards and was named co-MVP of the game, he led a postgame prayer at the 50-yard line with more than 50 players.

In 2005, during his second year in the NFL, Wright participated in an FCA video intended to encourage high school players and coaches. Wright said he tried to imagine and share what he would have benefitted from hearing when he was in high school.

“I know the right words at the right time would’ve made a big difference to me. I feel like I would have come to a true and loving relationship with Christ quicker if I had heard [someone talk about] exactly what I was going through,” Wright said.

He knew his status as an NFL football player might help some kids be more open to hearing about Jesus, as opposed to listening to a message from a preacher. So, knowing some ears and hearts might be more open to the Lord as he spoke, Wright recalled being in their shoes and remembered trying to put on different faces for different people.

“You feel anxious. You might not even know who you really are because you’re putting on so many faces for so many people. I tell people, ‘If you want that anxiety gone, if you want identity that’s real, if you’re sick of being tormented by what people think of you, Christ is it for you,’” Wright said.

Wright now lends his wisdom to organizations such as the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, for which he is on the Board of Trustees. He asked for their prayers as he embarks on his new role of helping lead an NFL franchise.

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