The Washington Redskins reportedly hope to hire Jennifer King and make her the NFL’s first Black female full-time assistant coach.
Multiple sources tell ESPN that King, who previously worked with Redskins Coach Ron Rivera, met with members of the organization before the Super Bowl to discuss an offensive assistant position. But even before this, she was hired by Rivera as a wide receiver coaching intern for the Carolina Panthers, where she worked the past two summers. Last fall, King worked as an offensive assistant with Dartmouth College.
The opportunity to work full time in the NFL would be a dream come true for King, who told ESPN in 2018 that she’d ultimately like to work as a college or NFL offensive coordinator. She also recognized that this move would be historic for a Black female and said she wants to be a role model for girls.
“It’s kind of like the (movie) Black Panther,” King said to ESPN at the time. “There was never, like, a Black superhero, and now that there’s a Black superhero, it’s like, ‘Holy cow!’ For the little girls, that’s just what I want for them: To let them know, if this is what they want to do, they can do it.”
King formerly coached the women’s basketball team at Johnson &Wales, leading it to a Division II championship in 2018. She also played for the New York Sharks in the Women’s Football Alliance and previously worked as an assistant receivers coach for the Arizona Hotshots in the Alliance of American Football (AAF).
Two years ago, Rivera told ESPN that it was time for the NFL to bring a woman on board as a coordinator.
“Part of it, it’s all about the fan base,” Rivera told ESPN in 2018. “It’s also knowing the moms out there that understand the game. It’s important because they really do control as to whether their kids are going to play. This is something that has to be developed. It helps us in a lot of ways. It also shows everybody deserves an opportunity.”
Rivera also said women should be included in the head coach conversation, calling them an “untapped source,” at a Women’s Careers in Football Forum last year.
“There’s a lot of forward thinkers in this room. We’re in a production-based business. It’s all about winning, and we’ve got to create that opportunity to win,” Rivera said, according to ESPN. “It doesn’t matter who you are – if you bring something special to the table and help us, we most certainly want you.”
One former Redskins receiver is a fan of bringing King on board, having worked with her personally. When King worked in the AAF, she helped coach Rashad Ross, who now plays for the DC Defenders of the XFL.
“(King’s) knowledge of the game was impressive,” Ross told ESPN in 2019. “It’s a double standard when it comes to sports with females and men.”