Commanders’ Magic Johnson: ‘It’s Been Hard’ for Black People to Become NFL Owners

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JULY 21: Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, a new owner of the Washington Commanders, greets fans at a pep rally after a press conference introducing the team's new ownership at on July 21, 2src23 in Landover, Maryland. NFL teams owners have unanimously approved a $6.src5 billion sale of the Commanders from Dan Snyder to a group led by Josh Harris. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Magic Johnson is ready to break barriers as he prepares for his first season as a limited owner in the NFL.

The legendary NBA player is a member of the ownership group led by Josh Harris that purchased the Washington Commanders franchise for $6 billion in July. This is his first foray into the NFL, and he said that the process for African Americans to get a seat at the owners table has been more of a challenge than it has been with other leagues.

“There’s no higher sports league than the NFL, and it’s been hard for us to get into the league,” Johnson said, referring to African Americans, per John Keim of

Johnson is perhaps the best example of this as he has been a part owner in the NBA, MLS, WNBA and MLB. He said his journey into NFL ownership is special as he feels that people of color can relate more to the Commanders franchise with his representation.

“It’s important because now all African Americans and minorities in this country feel like they’re owners of this team, too,” Johnson said, “because I’m sitting in this position, and so I can’t wait.”

The NFL has two franchises that have a person of color with a majority stake in ownership. There are now seven Black minority owners in the NFL with Johnson’s part in the Commanders ownership group.

This comes despite more than 50 percent of the league’s players identifying as Black or African American and more than 70 percent of the league identifying as a person of color in 2022, per

Johnson’s step adds more diversity to the ownership table, and he and Harris give the Commanders a more stable force running the show after Dan Snyder’s tumultuous tenure.

“You don’t have to worry about no problems from this ownership group,” Johnson said he told the players, per Keim. “You just have to concentrate on Sundays playing football. You ain’t going to read no headlines. You’re not going to have to worry about nothing. No questions from you guys about stuff off the field. Your job is just to concentrate on doing your job and having fun every Sunday, every Thursday or every Monday. That’s it.”

The Commanders will have their first game with the new ownership group come Sunday when they host the Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. ET.


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