The Washington NFL team will have a league first next season, and it won’t have anything to do with the new name.
Julie Donaldson, who has anchored coverage of the team for NBC Sports Washington, was named Washington’s senior vice president of media on Tuesday.
She’ll become the first female to be a regular on-air member of an NFL radio broadcast booth. Donaldson won’t call games’ play-by-play, but will select the person who does.
Donaldson replaces Larry Michael, who held the role for 16 years but abruptly resigned last week amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Donaldson was herself sexually harassed early in her career, and has used her platform to call attention to the issue.
“As a nation, we find ourselves in a time where change is demanded and needed in our society,” she wrote. “I’m committed to be an advocate for positive change. I want to support others in and around the organization, and across the community, to ensure their voices are heard and respected.”
With training camp just one week away, Donaldson will be able to jump into the role. She’s hosted pregame and postgame shows for NBCSW in recent years, in addition to midweek and training camp programming devoted to the team.
Prior to joining NBCSW in 2010, she worked in Boston, New York and Miami.
Michael’s role also included directing the team’s in-house media efforts as well as the nightly “Redskins Nation” television program, responsibilities that will fall to Donaldson.
Owner Dan Snyder noted Donaldson’s work with his wife, Tanya Snyder, in a press release.
“Julie Donaldson is a trailblazing journalist who has worked on multiple award-winning shows and has a passion for sports in the DMV,” Snyder wrote. “She has contributed countless hours of her time to work alongside Tanya and WOW [Women of Washington] to help raise awareness for breast cancer. She has been a staple in the community and I can’t think of anyone better to lead our organization’s in-house media and content into this new digital age.”
The team has kept its “Redskins” social media handles and branding, but will switch as soon as a new name is announced. No timetable has been given for that process.
Rookies set to report Thursday: Tuesday marked the first day that NFL teams can have their rookies report to training camp, but Washington coach Ron Rivera plans to have his report on Thursday.
The first day for veterans is next Tuesday, but coronavirus protocols dictate that the first four days be devoted to testing and virtual learning, before the team can gather for workouts inside the building.
For the rookies, the return marks the first opportunity for many of them to take their physicals and sign their rookie contracts.