Leading up to Super Bowl, former NFL commissioner joins RISE board

January 25, 2018

Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality welcomes Paul Tagliabue

NEW YORK – Former longtime NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has joined the Board of Directors for the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE).

Paul Tagliabue

Founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, RISE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Led by an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals, RISE uses sports to promote understanding, respect and equality.

“Paul comes to our board with an unrivaled background as a well-respected and accomplished leader in sports, business, law and higher education,” said Jocelyn Benson, RISE CEO. “He has served as an important advisor to us during the past year and is deeply committed to RISE’s vision of using sports as a vehicle for change. I am very much looking forward to continuing to work alongside of him to advance our mission.”

Added Ross: “Paul is an influential leader with a deep commitment to the critical role that sports can play in advancing equality. I look forward to working with him as he takes on a greater leadership role with RISE as he expands our work on the issues we know are important to him and to us.”

Tagliabue served as commissioner of the National Football League from 1989 until 2006. He presided over an extended period of labor peace, league expansion and growth of fan interest and revenue in professional football. His leadership of the NFL has been featured in national and international journals, including The Economist, BusinessWeek, Time and the China Daily.

He serves as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and previously advised the U.S. Olympic Committee on its governance structure. He is vice chair and former chair of Board of Directors for Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Tagliabue is senior of counsel in the law firm Covington & Burling in its Washington, D.C., office and advises clients on governance and public policy matters.

Tagliabue’s contributions in business and public service have been recognized by the Jackie Robinson Foundation, NCAA, Sports Business Journal, Autism Speaks, United Way of America and National Urban League.

Before becoming the NFL’s CEO, Tagliabue represented the NFL and other clients for two decades at Covington & Burling. He earlier served in the Office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as a policy analyst and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Tagliabue graduated in 1962 from Georgetown University, where he was captain of the basketball team. He earned his law degree in 1965 at New York University School of Law and has received honorary degrees from several universities.

“RISE is a unique alliance of leading organizations with an exceptional commitment to improving race relations and addressing key issues of equality in our communities,” Tagliabue said. “The RISE board brings together outstanding leaders dedicated to these goals, and I intend to make its activities a top personal priority.”

Headquartered in New York and with a Midwest office in Detroit and a South office in Miami Gardens, Florida, RISE has been active in 23 states with plans to be in all 50 states by the end of 2020.

RISE provides:

  • Leadership programming for student-athletes, coaches and administrators at the community, middle school, high school, collegiate and professional levels to equip them with the knowledge and skills to stand up against racism and advance the conversation around race relations.
  • Opportunities for athletes to amplify their voices and make a difference as effective advocates to stand up against racism and promote social progress. Through the RISE to Vote campaign, a national nonpartisan effort, RISE partners with sports teams and leagues to register professional athletes to vote and encourage them to lead their fans in becoming informed and engaged citizens.
  • Events for fans in conjunction with college and professional sports games and public awareness campaigns encouraging the public to join with professional athletes and community leaders in taking a pledge to stand against racism.

For more information about RISE, visit www.RISEtoWIN.org.

# # #

Download high-resolution photo of Paul Tagliabue: https://www.dropbox.com/s/aouw3108s1tpqa8/Paul%20Tagliabue.jpg?dl=0