Washington names former player Wright as NFL’s first Black team president

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

August 17, 2020

(Reuters) – The Washington Football Team on Monday named former NFL running back Jason Wright as its president, making him the first Black person to be hired for such a role in National Football League history.

Wright, who following his retirement in 2011 earned his MBA from the University of Chicago, will be responsible for leading the team’s business divisions, including operations, finance, sales and marketing.

The 38-year-old former player joins a Washington team that last month said it will retire its Redskins name and logo which had been used since 1933 but had long been criticized as racist by Native American rights groups.

“This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me,” Wright said in a news release.

“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.

“We want to set new standards for the NFL.”

Wright, who previously worked at consulting firm McKinsey & Co where he was a partner in the operations practice, will report directly to Washington team owner Dan Snyder.

Wright spent seven seasons in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Brown and Arizona Cardinals.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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NFL’s Redskins renamed as Washington Football Team for 2020 season

The NFL crew previously regarded as the Redskins will go by the Washington Football Group for at least the 2020 year, providing the organisation time to choose a new, total-time identify.

Long gone is the Indian head symbol and the title Indigenous American advocates have known as a dictionary-described racial slur.

Right here to remain are the burgundy and gold colours that are synonymous with the franchise’s storied record.

Executive vice-president and main marketing officer Terry Bateman, who was employed on Monday to oversee the title alter and rebranding procedure, called the temporary style “a good url amongst the heritage and the upcoming”.

“This is an organic and natural variety of shift,” Bateman reported in a cellphone interview on Thursday (community time).

“We preferred to believe it through and definitely consider to figure out what is the finest technique for us, for the community, for the lovers, for everybody, and arrived to the conclusion that what we required to do was to go sluggish with the renaming system and truly be pretty considerate, extremely inclusive, respectful and all all those matters.

With training camp opening subsequent 7 days, the process of scrubbing the aged title and brand from every little thing at the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, to the team’s property ground at FedEx Subject begins on Friday.

Bateman expects that course of action to be concluded by the begin of the time.

That’s when the genuine do the job begins to find a new title.

Extra than 1,000 names have been submitted, and Red Wolves and Purple Tails are amid the betting favourites on on line sportsbooks.

“I have gotten prolonged letters from persons conveying their notion,” Bateman claimed.

“What I explain to every person is everything that arrives in will be set in the hopper.”

Proprietor Dan Snyder not long ago dropped the Redskins title amid stress from sponsors and soon after many years of criticism from Indigenous American advocacy groups.

The franchise that began in Boston in 1932 has experienced the nickname Redskins since 1933.

A player’s jersey quantity will swap the emblem on Washington’s helmets, which will get their very first shut-up on September 13 in the year opener in opposition to Philadelphia.

An American football player stands, viewed from behind, wearing a red top and white trousers, with "Haskins 7" on the back
The new uniform will not have the outdated symbol on it.(AP: Washington Football)

Washington Football Workforce will be the name in the course of 2020 and could stick further than that if the identify modify course of action drags on.

“We’re not heading to place an synthetic time frame on it,” Bateman explained.

Marketing gurus hoped Snyder, coach Ron Rivera and Washington’s innovative department would check with with the local community before deciding a new identify.

Bateman expects lovers, sponsors and other folks to have enter ahead of a final choice is created.

“I think it truly is critically vital for the reason that you really don’t want to do [a name change] all over again,” Carnegie Mellon affiliate professor of promoting and tactic Tim Derdenger claimed not long ago.

“You you should not want to mess this up, so they seriously need to get it seriously.”

NHL introduces the Seattle Kraken

A flag with the logo of a new ice hockey franchise flaps in the wind on top of a Seattle landmark.
The NHL’s newest franchise will enter the league upcoming year as the Seattle Kraken.(AP: Elaine Thompson)

If Washington desired suggestions on selecting a new name, they could appear across the region to Washington state immediately after the latest Countrywide Hockey League ice hockey staff, primarily based in Seattle, introduced its new franchise name as the Seattle Kraken.

The new workforce was inundated with additional than 1,200 likely names, just before being whittled down to five.

Heidi Dettmer, the franchise’s marketing and advertising director, said the franchise comprehended the name was probably to have its critics.

But for a franchise that has the Hollywood impact of Jerry Bruckheimer, who is a person of the homeowners, being bold and aggressive was the play.

“We required to make guaranteed it was certainly authentic to Seattle and being a metropolis crafted by the sea — the two figuratively and pretty much — it is effective actually, definitely well,” Dettmer claimed.

“So you tie in that variety of regional Seattle flavour, our maritime background, with the fans’ rallying cry, is 1 of the techniques in the discovery section that we got to this title.”


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The NFL’s apparent new wokeness might be performative, but it still matters

We emerged from the holiday weekend with a newly woke NFL. I think, in time, we’ll find that it will matter.

On July 2, a league source told The Undefeated that the NFL will be playing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song commonly known as the Black national anthem, prior to the kickoff of each game played during the season’s opening week. It is, as I noted, a significant break from the NFL’s “gloomy past,” and just one of a variety of measures the league is considering designed to express solidarity with the victims of police violence. Also under consideration, adding a list of the names of victims, like George Floyd, on player jerseys or helmets.

If you’re surprised by the capitulation, you’re not alone. I covered the story here.

Barely one day later, the Washington NFL team announced it was prepared to re-think its name and mascot, long derided as racist. 

The team issued a press release distributed via Twitter announcing a “thorough review of the team’s name,” which “formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks.” The statement cited “recent events around our country and feedback from our community.” Native American mascots can be found on playing fields at schools all over the country, and their imagery has been hurting people for a long time.

“Native Americans are the only group in the United States subjected to having a racial slur as the mascot of a prominent professional sports team,” wrote Michael A. Friedman, the clinical psychologist who compiled a 2013 report commissioned by the Oneida Indian Nation titled “The Harmful Psychological Effects of the Washington Football Mascot.” The marketing machine that amplifies the name, “not only repeatedly exposes Native Americans to a harmful stereotype, but also implicitly condones the use of this term by non-Native Americans, which if performed on an interpersonal level would possibly constitute harassment or bullying.”

If this is performative wokeness, I’m fine with this. If nothing else, it’s a rallying cry.

It took mere moments before the news broke about the Black national anthem — and the speed of millions of Google searches — for #BoycottTheNFL to trend on Twitter. But alongside the racist discomfort was an awakening. Come opening week, millions of NFL fans might learn about the poem that became a song that has meant perseverance, dignity, and hope to generations of Black families. Those same viewers would see the views of Black players and plenty of fans publicly respected, along with Black lives, more broadly. And it doesn’t matter if a white man, in this case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, meant it or not when he said, “We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

He said it. Now, the song. The name. The marketing machine. Everything is now in play.

What matters now is what happens next.

Now that the first wave of big announcements is winding down, raceAhead will be turning our attention to the nuts and bolts of the work that must happen in the longer term.

But what comes immediately next is a tired football reference, right? So, suit up, everyone. And plan to leave it all on the field. 

Ellen McGirt

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Acho: Cronyism the problem in NFL’s diversity hiring issue

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured on a football at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo/File Photo

May 17, 2020

Sam Acho doesn’t believe incentives will tempt teams to hire minorities as head coaches and general managers.

The NFL Players Association executive committee member said Sunday that cronyism is the issue as it stunts opportunity.

“The problem is, it can’t be about incentives. It’s gotta be about giving the right coaches the right opportunities,” Acho said during an ESPN radio interview. “The problem with the NFL is that there’s so much cronyism; it’s all about who you know. Oftentimes, NFL coaches aren’t the best coaches; they’re not.

“Oftentimes, people talk about the politics and the business of football; it’s about who you know, and no one wants to talk about it.”

The 31-year-old linebacker, who is currently a free agent, was responding to reports that the NFL might allow teams to improve their draft status based on minority hires.

The proposal would reportedly allow teams to move up 10 places in the third round of the draft ahead of the second year under a newly hired minority GM. For newly hired head coaches of color, teams would get a six-place jump in the third round of the draft before his second season.

Should a team hire a minority head coach and GM in the same year, the rise would be 16 places in the third round — potentially into the second round.

The subject is reportedly likely to be discussed during Tuesday’s virtual meeting with team owners. A proposal needs 24 (of 32 votes) to pass.

Acho said the virtual NFL draft due to the coronavirus pandemic put the diversity issue on full display. There are only two minority GMs in Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins and Andrew Berry of the Cleveland Browns and four minority head coaches — Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ron Rivera of the Washington Redskins, Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers and Brian Flores of the Dolphins.

“It’s like one of America’s best-kept secrets — no one knows who’s in charge, especially in corporate America,” Acho said. “But because of COVID, we got an inside look to who’s in charge. And I think it just opened some people’s eyes into a bigger problem that’s going on in our country, which is a lack of diversity, especially in positions of power.”

Acho has played in 110 NFL games (57 starts) and has 241 tackles (22 for losses), 18 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions while being employed by the Arizona Cardinals (2011-14), Chicago Bears (2015-18) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019).

He had three tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in eight games for the Buccaneers last season.

–Field Level Media

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