The Washington Redskins have decided to remove all references of original owner George Preston Marshall, who founded the team in 1933 and owned it until his death in 1969. According to the Washington Post, the Redskins plan to erase Marshall's name from franchise history by removing his name from all official team material. This means Marshall will no longer be mentioned anywhere in their Ring of Fame, on their History Wall, or on the team's official website.
During his time as an NFL owner, Marshall was strongly in favor of segregation, and although the NFL became integrated in 1946, Marshall held out until 1962 before signing his first Black player. The Redskins were the last team in the NFL to add a Black player, and the move only happened because Marshall was threatened by the government.
At the time, Marshall made it clear that he didn't want any Black players on his roster and the only reason he ended up relenting is because John F. Kennedy's interior secretary, Stewart Udall, told Marshall that the Redskins would lose their lease at RFK Stadium if he didn't integrate the team. In order to keep the lease, Marshall ended up drafting Ernie Davis with the No. 1 overall pick in 1962. However, Davis refused to play for that "S.O.B.," so Marshall was forced to trade him, which paved the way for Bobby Mitchell to become the Redskins' first Black player.
The Redskins also made a move over the weekend when they decided to remove Marshall's name from the lower bowl at FedEx Field. The team instead decided to honor Mitchell, who will also be getting number his number retired.
The Redskins decision to erase Marshall from their history comes less than a week after the city of Washington DC decided to remove Marshall's statue from the outside plaza at RFK stadium. The statue was taken down on June 19.
The company made the decision to take the monument down, Events DC, thought the date made sense since the rest of America was celebrating Juneteenth.
"This symbol of a person who didn't believe all men and women were created equal and who actually worked against integration is counter to all that we as people, a city, and nation represent," Events DC said in a statement. "We believe that injustice and inequality of all forms is reprehensible and we are firmly committed to confronting unequal treatment and working together toward healing our city and country."
Due to Marshall's controversial history, his family had no problem with the removal of the statue. Marshall's granddaughter, Jordan Wright, told the Post that she was not bothered at all by the decision to get rid of it.
"No, not at all -- not one damn bit," Wright said. "I was glad to see it come down. It's past time to see it go."
Although the Redskins are erasing Marshall from the organization's history, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has no current plans to do the same. The Hall has said that its bylaws doesn't allow for the removal of anyone who's already been inducted. Marshall has been in the Hall of Fame since 1983.