The spotlight on Black NFL presidents emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in sports leadership, promoting a more equitable and representative landscape within the NFL and beyond.

In early February, the Minorities in Sports Business Network and Diverse Representation honored Jason Wright of the Washington Commanders and Kevin Warren of the Chicago Bears for their trailblazing achievements at the ‘A Toast to Black Sports’ gala during Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas.

The event marked a significant turning point in the NFL’s history by honoring the appointment of Black team presidents. This moment symbolized a move toward increased diversity and inclusivity within the league’s top leadership roles.

Host and sports reporter Kelsey Nicole Nelson conversed with the two honorees regarding their thoughts on diversity, Black leadership and ownership in the NFL.

“There’s so much talent, and it’s truly a blessing to be here. I’m so happy for Jason. He’s an icon in the industry and always there to support him, and he’s done the same thing for me,” Warren said.

This season, the NFL has seen a notable increase in Black representation among team presidents, with five now leading franchises. In addition to Warren and Wright, Sashi Brown (Baltimore Ravens), Sandra Douglass Morgan (Las Vegas Raiders) and Damani Leech (Denver Broncos) represent a significant step forward in diversifying league leadership.

“The thing I’m starting to really enjoy is that we’re pulling for each other and doing it the right way, and it’s not just to get Black folks just to get an opportunity, but really it’s the ones who are deserving so I’m really happy for Jason, Sashi, Sandra, and Demani and myself,” Warren added.

Wright expressed his satisfaction at witnessing the league’s progress in diversity and leadership since his historic appointment as the first Black NFL president in 2020.

“I think it’s great,” Wright said. “In 2020, when I was the first Black team president in the 100-year history of the NFL, in a few years, to have five of us and all five businesses doing well, Sandra and the Raiders leading the league in ticket revenue, Demani doing major renovations in the stadium with the Broncos, Sashi Brown continuing to outperform for their market in Baltimore, Kevin making progress in a new stadium deal and us [the Washington Commanders] leading the league in revenue growth categories.”

He continued, “Seeing Black leadership and Black intellect make bottom line dollars and cents for the league is really encouraging, and hopefully spurs more folks to be in these positions in the future.”

Wright offered valuable advice for young Black boys and girls aspiring to follow in his footsteps one day.

“It’s the sub-conscious belief that there’s somebody in a role that looks like me, so, therefore, I can do it; that makes a difference for folks, Wright said. “I’m so grateful that we’re having success, and the more folks we can be there, including my leadership team, which is pretty diverse, especially amongst Black women, the more folks will be able to see themselves leading an NFL franchise not just on the field but off the field.”

Shaina Wiel, founder and CEO of the Minorities in Sports Business Network, shared her joy about the event’s outcome.

“We were proud to curate a space that not only celebrated Black sports executives, but also created a safe space for fellowship, community, and relationship building,” Wiel said in a news release statement. “It felt like a family reunion. Wiel continued, “Kevin Warren and Jason Wright exemplify not just excellence in their careers, but excellence in uplifting other Black sports professionals in an industry that often doesn’t make them feel welcomed. It was a no-brainer to honor them.”

“There are very few spaces during Super Bowl week that celebrate the accomplishments and impact of Black executives in the sports industry. I’m extremely proud we were able to carve out space during Super Bowl LVIII to highlight Kevin Warren and Jason Wright,” Jaia Thomas, founder and CEO of Diverse Representation, said.