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Condoleezza Rice joins Broncos’ new ownership group

Condoleezza Rice is joining the Broncos’ incoming ownership group. (Darron Cummings/AP)

Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state who has been linked in the past to a variety of potential NFL roles, is joining the incoming ownership group of the Denver Broncos led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, the team’s new owners announced Monday.

“We’re pleased to welcome former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to our ownership group,” Walton said in a statement released by the Broncos. “A highly respected public servant, accomplished academic and corporate leader, Secretary Rice is well known as a passionate and knowledgeable football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better.”

Rice, 67, is the director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. She previously had been mentioned as an NFL commissioner candidate and once was linked to the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching job, speculation that she and the team quickly dismissed. She also was an inaugural member of the College Football Playoff selection committee.

“Her unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization,” Walton said.

The amount of her investment in the franchise was not disclosed.

“It is an honor to be part of this ownership group,” Rice said in a statement released through the Hoover Institution. “Football has been an integral part of my life since the moment it was introduced to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Broncos organization today. I spent much of my younger years in Denver, so to be able to combine my love of the game with my love for this great city and team is an adventure of a lifetime and a great opportunity.”

Rice became the first Black woman to serve as secretary of state when she succeeded Colin Powell in January 2005. She served until January 2009.

Group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton agrees to buy Broncos for $4.65 billion

Walton’s group agreed in June to purchase the Broncos from the Pat Bowlen Trust for $4.65 billion, according to a person familiar with the sale agreement. The deal remains subject to final approval by fellow team owners.

Walton announced when the deal was struck that Mellody Hobson, the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, had agreed to join his ownership group. Hobson, who is Black, also is the chair of the board of the Starbucks Corporation and a director of JPMorgan Chase.

NFL owners approved a resolution in March endorsing diversity in franchise ownership.

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