Dave McKenna on the Redskins' racist past: VIDEO
- Redskins owner George Preston Marshall in 1935: “The guy hated everybody but the whores,” Stewart Udall said. (Photo: Associated Press)
Earlier this month, Dave McKenna wrote a great account of the Redskins' last all-white team and how, after the team's 1961 football season, the federal government had to force the Redskins to integrate.
The Redskins had been on civil rights protesters’ radar for a while by 1961. Every squad in the NFL except the Redskins had integrated by 1952. But Marshall wouldn’t budge.
In February 1957, for example, the NAACP went after Marshall by running a picket line outside the Philadelphia hotel where an NFL owners meeting was taking place.
The owners’ response to the protesters’ pleas for integration? They unanimously passed a resolution honoring the Redskins boss: “George Marshall, having completed 25 years in professional football, is the greatest asset sports has ever known with his honesty, integrity, and his perfect frankness in expressing what he believes.”
The Washington Post’s Shirley Povich, a longtime critic of Marshall, was appalled. “There are those who will contend that a more debatable statement has never been uttered in the entire history of the spoken word,” Povich wrote of the resolution.
Today McKenna wore shorts on NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt while he discussed how the Skins' great tradition of racism doesn't end with their name. The entire interview will be up on NewsTalk's blog at some point today; the show repeats at 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on the not-so-recently rechristened NewsChannel 8. If you can't wait for that, here are some clips.
1. In which, after watching a short ad, we learn that the American Nazi party demonstrated in support of the Redskins as they played their first game 50 years ago this weekend in what's now RFK stadium.
2. In which, after watching a short ad, we learn that I am bad at cutting video clips: This one really should start at the 1:12 point, which I cannot figure out how to fix. BUT ALSO that the 1961 season was the worst year in the Skins' history, and how that coincided with what McKenna called a time that "was very uncool to be racist."
3. In which, after watching a short ad, we learn that there is a surprising amount of Dallas Cowboys fandom in D.C., especially among people who remember the Skins' history.
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