Condoleezza Rice won’t be carrying out foreign policy or leading diplomatic missions in her next role, but she will be a trusted advisor for one of Colorado’s most popular businesses.
Rice has joined the Denver Broncos ownership group, the team announced on Monday. The former U.S. Secretary of State is the latest addition to the group led by billionaire Walmart heir Rob Walton. Walton—alongside Greg Penner, who is the founder of Madrone Capital Partners and Walton’s son-in-law—purchased the Broncos last month for a record $4.65 billion, pending league approval.
“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,” Rice said in a statement. “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 is the second minority limited partner in the ownership group, joining Mellody Hobson, the president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments. Rice is the first person to be publicly named to the group since the bidding ended, and it’s unclear how much stake Rice will own, since the terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“A highly respected public servant, accomplished academic and corporate leader, Secretary Rice is well known as a passionate football fan who has worked to make the sport stronger and better,” Walton said in a statement on the behalf of the Walton and Penner families. “Her unique experience and extraordinary judgment will be a great benefit to our group and the Broncos organization.”
During the bidding process for the Broncos, the NFL made it clear that identifying diverse candidates would be highly prioritized. This came as the league continues to deal with racial discrimination issues, from Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit, alleging discrimination during his interview process for various head coaching positions, to the fallout of racist emails written by former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
Hobson and Rice are part of a small group of black NFL limited partners, which includes former NFL stars Warrick Dunn (Atlanta Falcons) and John Stallworth (Pittsburgh Steelers).
Rice, a University of Denver alum and longtime Cleveland Browns fan, served on the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee from 2014-2016. Rice, who chaired a commission on college basketball changes, has been rumored as a candidate to replace Mark Emmert as NCAA president.
(This article has been updated in the third paragraph with a quote from Rice.)