DENVER (KDVR) – The new era of the Denver Broncos brings with it one of the most diverse groups of owners in sports. Two Black women are a part of the Walton-Penner Ownership Group; it’s something even a year ago, most would not be able to imagine. Now it’s a reality unique to the Broncos.
“It’s a blessing. To have partners like this, their willingness to join us in this endeavor is a huge blessing and I couldn’t be more thankful,” newly named Broncos CEO Greg Penner said Wednesday.
Penner said the new ownership group brought Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business powerhouse Mellody Hobson on board with the Broncos to include their perspectives in making the team more successful.
“There are little girls out here whose dads play on the team when they can look up and see ownership of the broncos and they can see someone who looks just like them. I think that’s really great, but I think the biggest thing on top of that is that they didn’t just do that to do that. I mean these are really powerful, qualified that deserve this, earned this worked for this,” Broncos safety Justin Simmons said.
The owners desire to be here too. Nearly 58% of NFL players are Black. Hobson said she’s looking to bridge the gap between the front office and the gridiron.
“It is a joy to partner with other members of this ownership group, people that I have admired for a very long time. I also want to acknowledge the bond I feel with the players who, like me, have had to overcome a lot in their lives,” Hobson said during the group’s first press conference.
Denver’s second Black mayor, Michael Hancock, hopes the spirit of inclusion is contagious. Not only among the community in Denver but throughout the NFL.
“I hope it’s the start of very bold and progressive actions by the NFL to continue to try to find and engage people of color to be owners and women in particular as well. I think it’s important to continue to set the mark so hopefully this is just the start of something wonderful today. But we still gotta win!” Hancock said.
No matter what happens on the field this year, this ownership team is a win for diversity in sports.