A memorial outside RFK Stadium honoring the first owner of the Washington Redskins was spraypainted Thursday night and removed Friday morning.
Like so many statues and memorials around the country being targeted for honoring racists, the words “Change the name” were scrawled in dripping red paint on the monument to George Preston Marshall.
Pressure is mounting for the team to change its name as people nationwide call for racial justice. Marshall opposed allowing African Americans to play in the NFL.
Officials with Events DC, the agency that manages the stadium, opted to remove the 10-foot granite monument.
“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 leaders of Events DC said in a statement. “Removing this statue is a small and an overdue step on the road to lasting equality and justice.”
The memorial will go into storage. Advisory neighborhood commissioner Denise Krepp had pressured officials for years to remove it.
“To see this at 8 o’clock this morning was phenomenal, especially on Juneteenth. He doesn’t belong here anymore,” she said. “If you are a racist, a bigot — if you perpetuate hate — you don’t deserve a statue, you don't deserve a memorial. And we’re going to take them down.”
A bust of Robert Kennedy stands just a few feet away, as does a memorial to Clark Griffith, the former owner of the Washington Senators baseball team. Like Marshall, Griffith opposed allowing African Americans to play on his team.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the Marshall memorial was meant to come down. Neither she nor Events DC replied to inquiries about plans for the Griffith statue. D.C.’s NFL team also did not reply to an inquiry.
D.C. police say they’re investigating the vandalism.