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Josh Harris, Mitch Rales and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson deliver powerful opening statements


Washington Commanders Managing Partner Josh Harris as well as Limited Partners Mitch Rales and Earvin "Magic" Johnson spoke during Friday's press conference. Here are each of their full opening statements.

Managing Partner Josh Harris

"Thanks, Jason. Thanks, coach. And thank you all for being here on this incredibly exciting day. The first in the new era of the Washington Commanders. Let's go! Today took an immense amount of work from a lot of people. I'm not going to be able to mention everyone, but I need to mention the accomplished group of partners that we've put together, and it's a group that's diverse, and that's on purpose. It's a group that is incredibly accomplished. Mitch, David, Magic and Mark, who are up here – you'll get to meet all of them. But I think we, the city, is lucky to have their support and engagement and building an incredible franchise. Of course, none of this would have been possible at all without my mom, Sylvia Harris, right there. Thank you, mom. And to my family of five children and my wife, Marjorie. I love you all deeply. Thank you for supporting me. I couldn't have done any of this without you. I love you guys. As a kid who grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, I've been a fan of this team for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories was walking down East Capitol Street with the rest of the fans, going into RFK Stadium. We didn't make the 20-year waiting list, so we didn't have season tickets. It literally was a 20-year waiting list. Hearing the crowd and feeling the rumbling of the stadium really had an indelible mark on me as a human being. I grew up with Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Joe Theismann, Mark Rypien, Doug Williams, Joe Gibbs, the hogs, Darrell Green, John Riggins, and the rest of these legends and three Super Bowl championships. The then-Redskins were the team that everyone wanted to be a part of, and it brought this city together. It was great. We were with all the past legends this morning, many of whom are here. And I can't tell you the feeling of seeing Terry and Jon – our future legends. I'm thrilled that you're here with us, and it makes a big difference seeing this group together – the old and the new – is really special. This franchise is a part of who I am and who I became. It's part of my DNA. But I appreciate that it's not just about being a fan. I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to this city to win championships, to create a positive impact on the community, and to create great experiences and memories for future fans, just like I had growing up as a kid. I've done this before. And I believe that we are up to this task. In order to win, we're going to need the best, most committed people. Starting today, we will track those people with a culture defined by excellence, dignity, respect and inclusivity. I look forward to working with Jason and Ron to create great experiences to create that culture and create memories for our fans. I know we'll accomplish it. And we all need to work together to make sure that this team is a force that unites people in an otherwise divided world and brings them together. To the Commanders fans, our promise to you is straightforward. We will work tirelessly to make you proud once again of this franchise like my family was when I grew up here. This is not going to be easy. My job is to deliver an organization that can win. It's on me, and it's on us up here. Our work begins today, and I'm so excited to be on this journey together with the city. Thank you all."

Limited Partner Mitch Rales

"This is incredibly humbling. I mean, I wish my parents were here to see this day. They moved me to the Washington area when I was 10 years old. And fortunately, I gave up the Steelers for the then-Redskins. I got on the bus at Friendship Heights with my three brothers, and we made our way down to RFK, and we never missed a game. So to see the legends standing here in front of me now, the people that I aspired to be like as I was growing up, it's just unbelievable. But what's really unbelievable is the group that's been assembled here today. When I tell you we share the same values and vision about what we want this organization to be, and the opportunity in the days, months, weeks, years ahead – it's unprecedented. Josh, I don't know how to say it. We only met four or five years ago, but I feel like he's a brother. Marky Mark, a brother. Irvin, you know, a brother. Blitz, you know, I have just gotten to know Blitz going to a few 76ers games. It was unbelievable. So why do we exist? We are here to ignite and inspire all the communities we serve by winning championships. We've got to ignite the fan base. We've got to ignite the player base. We've got to unite the Legends base. And we've got to ignite all the Commanders associates base. There's a lot of people here who can help, and that's what I do. I was telling the legends a story downstairs. I tried to be a football player. I made it to the Maryland State All-Star game coming out of high school. I was one of the last guys to be fighting for a scholarship at the University of Maryland, and I was up against a guy who was blocking me – because I was a linebacker – on a full ride to Penn State… 6'6", 280 lbs and ran a 4.8-forty. I came off the field, my dad said, 'why is the uniform all dirty in the back but clean on the front?' I quickly understood that I would rather be a business builder than a football player. So I respect what you guys are doing. It's incredible. So we're here to really build this again from the bottom up, the right way, by engaging everybody in a passionate, inspiring way. And we're going to need help from everybody here. Not just us. We can't do it on our own. We're going to work our butts off, but we need everybody to rally to the occasion. I remember what it was like, and I want to see those days here again, more for the community building of our fans and our other communities than even myself. So thank you, and I look forward to working with all of you in the time to come."

Limited Partner Earvin "Magic" Johnson

"God is so good. I'm so blessed today. I give him all the honor and glory to be this incredible African American man – this black man – standing here to be a part of this incredible franchise. When Josh and I talked, the first thing I said was, 'do you want to win?' And he said 'yes.' I said, 'I'm in,' because I don't invest in sports teams just for ego. I invest to win. And we want to change everything that has happened to this franchise. We see the winners in the front row. Not only did they win Super Bowls, but they also made the community great. And we want to invite the community to be a part of what we're building here. That's going to be a part of my role – to get out into the community and help them understand what we're doing, how we're doing it. And also we want to give back. We want to make an impact on this great community that we're doing business in. And so this is not just a proud day for me and my family – my beautiful wife, Cookie, and our three children and two grandchildren – but I think for every African American in this country, because we've been left out of the NFL. But we're making strides, and Josh and all my incredible partners and now teammates, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this. And at a great city that I've known for a long time – played in this city and done a lot of business in this city, building Starbucks, Washington Hilton, on and on and on. And then I got to tell you two stories about how I'm tied to this city and that's probably why God blessed me with this opportunity. Abe Pollin, who used to own the Wizards, was one of my mentors. And then I go back to one of the owners that used to own this team. Jack Kent Cooke had to make the deal with me to then sell the Lakers to Dr. Buss to buy the Washington Redskins. Isn't that something? I'm supposed to be here and be a part of this incredible franchise, and I will say this, we've been meeting, and we're ready for the challenge. We want to take all the headaches away from the players and coaches. We want them to concentrate on being great football players and winning games and just coaching games. We want to make it easy for them. And that's what we're going to do. And I think that Josh touched on it. It's about excellence, best in class, and doing everything the right way. And then over-delivering to our fan base. And we're going to do just that. So do me a favor because this man didn't have to do this. He could have chosen anybody else that didn't look like me. So can y'all stand up and give Josh a standing ovation because that's important. Come on. Come on. Come on. I appreciate it. And I'm ready to go to work and build a winner here – build a Super Bowl championship team here in Washington in the Washington Commanders. Thank you. God bless."

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