For two weeks, the Denver Broncos became the first club in American football history to have black owners. “We wanted to bring in people with a different perspective and different experiences and we certainly succeeded,” said Greg Penner, co-owner of the Walton-Penner Group.
Penner’s investment firm took over the Broncos with a record deal worth over $4.5 billion. This instantly made the club the most expensive sports club in the world.
The Walton-Penner Group includes (white) billionaire Rob Walton, the son of the founder of Walmart, the largest supermarket chain in the United States. Additionally, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and women Condoleezza Rice (former United States Secretary of State) and Mellody Hobson also have a stake in the club. The last three are all black.
Quarterback and star player Russell Wilson called the arrival of black owners in June a “historic step toward diversity in the NFL.”
Penner is proud of the owners’ line-up: “Lewis is the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time, Dr Rice has extensive experience in world politics and academia and Mellody is an incredibly good businesswoman.”
Despite the fact that almost seventy percent of NFL players are black, the sport is considered predominantly white. Among the owners, there are only two people of non-white origin. The fans who come to the stadiums are also predominantly white.
The NFL has been trying to promote diversity for years. For example, it is hoped to hire more coaches and employees of color in the clubs.
The NFL’s policy has also been widely criticized. For example, there are rumors that the union is doing too little for diversity. There have also been lawsuits against the NFL, in which the association has been called racist.
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