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Embattled Washington hires Julie Donaldson as lead broadcaster for its radio broadcasts

·4-min read

Washington’s NFL team and owner Daniel Snyder has a long way to go to repair the damage from a Washington Post story that exposed numerous complaints of sexual harassment.

To start that process Washington is replacing Larry Michael, the team’s longtime play-by-play radio announcer who was accused of misconduct in the Post’s story, with Julie Donaldson of NBC Sports Washington. In addition to leading the radio broadcast team Donaldson will have a senior-level role in the organization, NBC Sports Washington confirmed.

It’s fair to be skeptical if this signals the start of change in the organization or if it’s a public-relations move strategically leaked to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But it is a great opportunity for Donaldson, a longtime reporter and anchor in Washington, and a rare opportunity for a woman in NFL broadcasting.

Julie Donaldson has been on Washington sports scene for a decade

There aren’t many women leading broadcast teams around major professional sports. Beth Mowins got a “Monday Night Football” assignment in 2017 and later that year became the first female play-by-play announcer on CBS’ NFL coverage. Jenny Cavnar has handled play-by-play duties for some Colorado Rockies games, the first woman in decades to call an MLB game on TV. Jessica Mendoza (MLB) and Doris Burke (NBA) have been pioneers in color commentary for their sports.

The list isn’t long. Via NBC Sports Washington, Donaldson will be the first woman to be a regular member of an NFL team’s radio broadcast booth, according to Westwood One. Donaldson had been a reporter, anchor and host at NBC Sports Washington since 2010 covering the local teams there. She had hosted NBC Sports Washington’s pregame and postgame NFL shows.

Donaldson posted a Twitter thread expressing her excitement:

It’s a great opportunity for Donaldson. Of course, it does come at a tumultuous time for the organization.

Washington team owner Daniel Snyder has promised to change the culture of his organization. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington team owner Daniel Snyder has promised to change the culture of his organization. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Washington has been an embarrassment under Daniel Snyder

Everything about Snyder’s team should be viewed through a skeptical lens.

Washington had been involved in a story regarding an inappropriate work environment for team cheerleaders long before the Washington Post story was released. Other stories and allegations should have brought about change but nothing was done.

Snyder has talked about a culture change, on the field and off, but it’s mostly empty noise considering how poorly Washington has been run under his ownership. Perhaps the hiring of Donaldson is a sign of true change and progress, which is long overdue for that team.

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