Could Billionaire Robert F. Smith Become the NFL's 1st Black Owner?

·3 min read
Photo:  Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images)
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images)

I’ve never been a billionaire a day in my life.

But if I was, after I splurged on What’s Happening!! and What’s Happening Now!! box sets, I would make it rain in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s living room and demand that he sell me an NFL franchise.

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Apparently, actual billionaire Robert F. Smith—who spends his free time doing things like pouring money into organizations that focus on Black culture, education, and human rights, and paying the entire outstanding balance of student loans for Morehouse’s 2019 graduating class (which, by the way, had a $34 million tab)—feels the same way, as Front Office Sports reports that the prolific philanthropist and entrepreneur could very well become the first Black owner in NFL history.

Allow me to explain.

In 2014, Denver Broncos CEO Joe Ellis became the team’s controlling owner delegee after long-time owner Pat Bowlen—who purchased the team for a cool $78 million back in 1984—was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In the time since, the team’s ownership situation can best be described as “I don’t think this Excedrin is strong enough” as the franchise has struggled to thrive on the field without actual ownership in place.

Thankfully, after going six consecutive seasons without a playoff berth—I know this because I learned to count in elementary school and my beloved Broncos are a frequent topic of discussion in my therapy sessions—there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel.

Earlier this month, the franchise finally got its ownership situation cleared up in court and could be going to the highest bidder very soon. And among those reportedly interested in coughing up a cool $4 billion in order to save the Denver Broncos from themselves is Mr. Robert F. Smith—who just so happens to be very rich and very Black.

From Front Office Sports:

If the Denver Broncos hit the open market, the sale of the team could make history beyond its purchase price. The deal could produce the first Black owner in the NFL’s 101-year history.

Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith has emerged as one of the possible bidders for the Broncos, sources told Front Office Sports.

With an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, the 59-year-old entrepreneur ranks as the richest Black person in America, according to Forbes. The Broncos sale could fetch a record $4 billion or more, which would make it the richest team sale in U.S. sports history.

However, in order to buy the team, Smith will have to outbid his equally very rich, yet infinitely less properly seasoned, competitors.

According to Woody Paige of The Denver Gazette, there are six groups seeking the Broncos, including two with Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton Manning and John Elway. ​​Brittany Bowlen, one of the daughters of late Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, also is reportedly readying a bid to purchase the team.

Damn you, capitalism!

Considering the 59-year-old is a Denver native, I would imagine that he’s all in on outbidding the other investment groups who are hell-bent on keeping NFL ownership as white as Texas’ Black History Month school curriculum.

So hopefully, he’s able to cut the check and make history while continuing to do amazing things to uplift his people.

Smith has made individual political donations totaling more than $920,000 since 2011, according to the Federal Election Commission’s database. Nearly all the money has gone to Democratic politicians and progressive-leaning political action committees. The largest, $500,000 in 2018, went to the Black Economic Alliance PAC that is currently pushing for the Senate to alter its filibuster rules to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Make it happen, Broncos.