The Washington Redskins are removing George Preston Marshall’s name from their Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, according to a source, less than a week after his statue was removed from his former home. Marshall was the last NFL owner to join his franchise.
The Redskins will also pull him off his story wall outside the locker room at his practice facility.
Last week Events DC, which owns the grounds at RFK Stadium, had the Marshall statue removed from the outside of the building. The Redskins Ring of Fame surrounds the middle tier of the stadium, with names of former players, coaches and contributors to its history. Marshall’s name will be canceled.
On Saturday, the team said it would remove Bobby Mitchell’s No. 49; in 1962, he became the first African American to play for the franchise under Marshall. But it happened only because Home Secretary Stewart Udall told Marshall that he would otherwise revoke the recently signed 30-year lease at DC Stadium, which was located on federal land.
The bottom bowl at FedEx was also renamed in honor of Mitchell, replacing Marshall.
Marshall, who was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, owned the Redskins from its inception as a franchise in 1932 in Boston until his death in 1969. They were initially called the Braves because they shared the same stadium as the then-Boston Braves. . A year later, the franchise started playing at Fenway Park and changed its name to the Redskins.
The team moved to Washington in 1937. Marshall was an influential owner: He helped fuel the forward pass evolution and embraced television in the 1950s, allowing the franchise to become the most dominant team in the South.
But Marshall resisted efforts and pressure to join his roster, becoming the last NFL owner to do so in 1962. Marshall once said he would sign African-American players when the Harlem Globetrotters signed white players. The Redskins were the southernmost franchise, and Marshall had his band playing “Dixie” on the field for 23 years. The NAACP protested Marshall at a meeting of league owners in 1957 and once picketed outside his home.
For years, columnists wrote about the lack of black players on Washington’s list, but it did not deter Marshall. However, in the spring of 1961, Home Secretary Stewart Udall began pressuring Marshall to make his list. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later got involved in trying to persuade Marshall to give in. He was quoted in stories wondering why, if “[a]If the other teams we play have blacks, does it matter which team the blacks have? That December, Marshall selected the black running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis with the first pick. But it later emerged that Marshall had traded the team to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Mitchell, a running back / catcher who became the first black player from Washington in 1962.
DC Stadium was later renamed RFK Stadium; The Redskins moved to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, in 1997. With the FedEx land lease ending in 2027, the Redskins have been looking for a new home in the Washington area. Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser has said multiple times that he would like the team to return to the District. However, she reiterated an obstacle to that return in a recent interview with The Team 980: her nickname.
“It is an obstacle for us locally, but it is also an obstacle for the federal government to lease us the land,” Bowser said.
Owner Dan Snyder said in 2013 that he would never change the name, a stance that other members of the franchise have repeated in subsequent years.