The Washington Redskins haven’t changed their nickname yet, as the left wants them to do. Though, they have parted with one symbol due to its racist ties.
The Redskins have decided to remove the statue of former Owner George Preston Marshall at RFK Stadium. Under Marshall’s leadership, the Redskins were one of the last teams to integrate black players onto their roster. There have also been quotes attributed to him that have upset many.
Specifically, Marshall once reportedly said that he would “sign black players when the Harlem Globetrotters start playing white players.”
In the 1960’s the federal government threatened to boot him out of RFK Stadium if he didn’t sign black players. The Redskins decision to remove the statue comes on the same day that the Minnesota Twins decided to remove the statue of former Owner Calvin Griffith, due to racist ties.
According to Sports Illustrated:
Marshall was awarded the NFL franchise in 1932, that initially was known as the Boston Braves. Soon after, he changed the club’s nickname to what it is now, and by 1937, he moved the team to Washington D.C., where its name has remained the same.
By 1961, Washington was the only of 14 NFL teams that hadn’t integrated. According to the Washington Post, U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart Udall confronted Marshall about the topic that March, explaining that then-DC Stadium was on national park land and that the team might not keep its lease if Marshall didn’t sign a Black player. Marshall said he wanted to discuss the issue with President John F. Kennedy.
Per the Post, Marshall marketed his all-white team as “the team of the South.” The team’s popular song that he commissioned, “Hail to the Redskins,” included the line “Fight for Old Dixie” (later changed to “Fight for Old D.C.”).
Marshall died in 1969, he was 72 years old.