The NFL hoped earlier this year that the sale of the Denver Broncos would result in the first Black majority owner in the history of the National Football League. While that didn’t happen, there might soon be a second chance for the league to get its moment.
Facing a lawsuit from former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and other assistant coaches over racially-biased hiring practices, commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the league’s failures and privately addressed teams about the lack of diversity at general manager and head coach.
The implementation of the Rooney Rule and the expansion to include rewarding teams with draft picks when they lose a minority executive or assistant to a head coach or general manager position were introduced to address the issue. However, many still believed that the lack of diversity at the highest level was responsible for the league’s problems.
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As bidders emerged to buy the Broncos, the NFL privately encouraged Black billionaires to come forward with bids. League officials, including Goodell, have wanted to welcome the first Black majority owner in NFL history.
Ultimately, the league’s financial interest won out. Rob Walton, the heir to the Walmart fortune, headed a group that purchased the Broncos for an American sports record of $4.65 billion. Months later, league officials seem to be hoping for another opportunity.
Related: Daniel Snyder set staggering ‘magic number’ for Washington Commanders sale
NFL insider Don Van Natta Jr reported on ESPN Daily that multiple team owners are privately expressing a desire to have a Black majority owner in the near future.
The Broncos’ sale included the first Black female owner in NFL history, with Mellody Hobson buying a stake in the franchise. Denver’s ownership group also includes Condoleeza Rice and seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
Snyder’s consideration of selling the Commanders could be a unique opportunity for the league. Washington D.C. has one of the highest average household incomes for Black families in the United States. However, the support for the Commanders has dipped after years of issues with Snyder running the team.
Notably, billionaire Byron Allen has already expressed interest in buying the Commanders and the NFL previously asked Robert F. Smith, one of the richest black men in the nation, to bid on the Broncos before they were sold.
However, money is the driving force behind the league’s ultimate interests. If someone like Jeff Bezos is willing to offer more than $6 billion to buy the Commanders and Snyder accepts, NFL owners will happily approve so they can enjoy the benefit of the sale skyrocketing the values of other franchises.