With time before the upcoming season waning, Washington Football Team owner Daniel Snyder is making strategic moves to fulfill his promises of redemption. He may have nailed it with his recent choice for the team’s President, Jason Wright. With an encompassing set of skills, experience, and passion, Wright may be exactly what Snyder needs to lead his team back to greatness.
Jason began his NFL career as a player. During a seven-season run, he played for 4 different teams- the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, and the Arizona Cardinals. At the time of his retirement, his agent Mike McCartney was already negotiating prospective contracts.
But Wright had other aspirations. Instead, he walked away from a multimillion-dollar contract and enrolled in the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. After earning his MBA in Operations and Finance, and quickly scored a partnership position with McKinsey & Company in Washington D.C.
Jason Wright was born and raised in Los Angeles, with humble beginnings. He credits his family for instilling in him a strong work ethic and intellectual curiosity. Education and community were important aspects of his early life. His mother worked as a flight attendant, and his father started his own business as an insurance salesman. His father was also a civil rights activist.
On top of his job and his activism, Jason’s father also coached his sports teams when he was young. These were major influences throughout Wright’s life, which he has demonstrated through his educational and professional endeavors. But his parents didn’t limit their focus there- they also encouraged what Wright describes as, ‘a quirky set of interests’, making him a ‘nerd on purpose’.
“I know canon, I know expanded universe, I know more elvish words than I care to admit in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ universe. Pretty deep into ‘X-Men,’ that was my comic book set growing up,” he said. Besides elvish, Jason also speaks fluent French.
Jason has since started his own family. He and his wife of 12 years, Tiffany, share two biological children- aged 6 & 9. Before having their own children, they opened their home to two at-risk teens. Wright’s wife met the girls while working as a teacher at a nonprofit after-school program in Cleveland. Both are now grown, with children of their own, and are “doing incredibly well,” Jason said. He laughs as he reflects on the fact that this makes him and his wife grandparents.
“When I tell that, I’m always like, ‘This is so weird,’ but then I think about how our families were. It’s like the natural evolution of how both of us were raised: to see ourselves as part of a bigger community,” he said.
“We had a really broad definition of family because my parents really saw themselves as stewards of a bigger community, especially with people of color, frankly, as a sense of solidarity of background and shared struggle that opened our household.”
He continues, “I think we see ourselves as sort of national and global citizens, and we think about issues that cut across demographics,” he said. “We’re pretty apolitical, so things that cut across political lines and that are pretty inarguably good for society [is what we give to].”
On His Ground-Breaking Presidency
Dan Snyder’s decision to hire Jason Wright has come at a crucial time for the Washington Football Team’s new identity. Following suit of his recently proclaimed commitment to culture change, this is the second time this year that Snyder has appointed a man of color into an executive role. The first was now head Coach Ron Rivera, one of the first Latinos to hold his position.
Despite becoming the First Black President of an NFL team, Jason maintains a humble disposition. While it is a background detail to Jason, the hire is a feat that took the NFL a century to make- despite the plethora of Black talent within the sport. The magnitude of this unprecedented position is enough to unnerve even the strongest of candidates, but Jason is adamant about not letting that happen.
“It could, but I’ve chosen to not allow it to,” he said. “If I weren’t Black, I wouldn’t feel that pressure so I’m going to choose to be unencumbered by that and take as much as I can the same advantage as somebody else.” He added, “I have a pretty high bar for myself anyway, so I’m not sure that the historical nature of the moment is going to push me much harder than I push myself already.”
Wright makes a point to show his gratitude for the Black leaders he has played under, such as Cardinals general manager Rod Graves. Jason also acknowledges Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. He states his appreciation of the former Minnesota Vikings COO, who fulfilled the duties of a team president without the title or recognition. Jason says he will strive to facilitate more opportunities for people of color to reach higher administrative roles within the Washington franchise.
Among Wright’s other objectives for his first 100 days as president? ‘Listen, learn, and manage what’s urgent’. At a tumultuous time for his team, Dan Snyder can feel confident that Jason will grab the reigns and rebuild the Washington reputation.