Following the removal of a statue honoring Washington Redskins founder and owner George Preston Marshall outside of RFK Stadium, the movement to get Marshall, who was an avowed racist and bigot, taken out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame has hit a major snag.
The Hall of Fame has confirmed that Marshall will remain, stating that once elected, nothing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s bylaws allows for a Hall member to be removed.
An example often used to justify this is former Buffalo Bills superstar running back OJ Simpson, a 1985 inductee who remains in the Hall despite his, shall we say, controversial post-football life.
One key difference between those two, however, is that Simpson was elected as a player, and no one doubts that his numbers were worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. Marshall, meanwhile, was elected in the inaugural 1963 class as a "contributor", and his contributions are losing luster by the day.
He might have founded the Redskins and built them into one of the biggest nationwide fanbases, but he was instrumental in creating the ban on signing black players until 1949. He kept the Redskins lily-white until 1962, when Robert F. Kennedy threatened to revoke Washington's stadium lease. After a few trades made under protest, the Redskins ended up with Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell, who just had his No. 49 posthumously retired.
The fact that the Hall is clinging to bylaws, which can be changed, mind you, to keep Marshall in the Hall of Fame is a complete embarrassment.
The Hall of Fame had the chance to show how much they support racial equality and the removal of racists from the game's Shangri-La, and they have totally dropped the ball.