As the NFL has finally begun dedicating itself to supporting its players and the ongoing social movements throughout the United States, one team in particular can no longer avoid its own history.
For years, many have viewed the name and logo of the Washington Redskins as racist, demanding that they be changed. While Washington has not yet taken that step as a franchise, they have begun to take positive action by removing the statue of franchise founder George Preston Marshall in front of their former home, RFK Stadium.
Marshall founded the Redskins back in 1932 as the Boston Braves, owning the team until his death in 1966. After just one year of play, the team's name changed to the Redskins.
A few years later, Marshall announced he would move the team to Washington, DC. RFK Stadium, now out of commission and set to be demolished in the future after hosting football, baseball and soccer over the years,, hosted the NFL team from 1961 to 1996.
The monument has long been a center of controversy, as has Marshall's reputation as one of the league's leading racists during his time. Marshall has been widely criticized for opposing the signing of Black players on NFL rosters. Teams have been able to sign and draft Black players since 1946 and 1949, respectively, but Marshall did not sign his first such player until 1962.
While removing the statue is a step in the right direction, the Redskins are a long way from overcoming their troubled history, including Marshall's presence at their current home, FedEx Field.
The Redskins have been under significant pressure to make changes in the past, but it has become far more aggressive than ever before. If there ever was a time to begin to make amends for their racist history, it is now.
Removing Marshall's monument at RFK is a positive change, but there is still far more to accomplish in Washington.