Early the morning of June 19th, a ten-foot George Preston Marshall memorial was removed from the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Stadium Campus.
George Preston Marshall was the first owner of the Washington Redskins, which played at RFK Stadium from 1961 to 1996. Although other NFL teams began drafting black players as early as 1949, Marshall refused to sign a black player until 1962, when the federal government threatened to revoke the team’s 30-year lease on RFK stadium unless he did so.
— Denise Rucker Krepp (@kdrkrepp) June 19, 2020
“Removing this statue is a small and overdue step on the road to lasting equality and justice,” reads a statement attributed to Chair of the Events DC Board of Directors Max Brown and Greg O’Dell, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We recognize that we can do better and act now.”
Calling the memorial a ‘disturbing symbol’, the statement reiterates that Events DC is ‘firmly committed’ to confronting unequal treatment and working toward healing the city and country.
“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,” the statement read. “We recognize that we can do better and act now.”
A spokesperson said that for now, the statue will be held in storage. George Preston Marshall was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
A statue to former Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith remains on the site, even as a statue of Griffith was removed from Minneapolis’s Target Field on the same day as the Marshall monument was removed from RFK.
Griffith relocated the Washington Senators to Minneapolis in 1961, renaming the team the Twins. In 1978, the Minneapolis Tribune reported that during a speech to a Waseca Lions club, Griffith said he decided to make the move “when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here,.”
Originally erected at Griffith Stadium in Northwest, the DC monument of Griffith was relocated to the RFK campus after Griffith stadium was demolished in 1964. The Washington Nationals played at RFK Stadium between 2005 and 2007.