There was in The Washington Post’s “up-brow” section, telling Dan Snyder to sell the Redskins. Enough Arredy!
When I was at the newspaper, Sports Editor Shirley Povich was in charge of berating George Preston Marshall, the founding father who moved from Boston to Washington. The Redskins were originally the Braves. That was fashion at the time; the older MLB taking under wing the pigskins new owners. The NFL-owners latched onto major league baseball’s fame and popularity. Starting the Redskins wasn’t easy.
Shirley’s gripe voiced over and over again was tantamount integration. I went by once a week to see my friend, Mr. Marshall, when I was with the National Symphony Orchestra. We put on a show. The musicians playing the old Griffin Stadium at the NFL owner’s request; they had a ball. Many of them were football fans. Never again did the NSO play at football halftime. Do-gooders within the symphony board objected loudly. Shirley’s plea was fixed to integration.
George Catlett Marshall was fixed on business; the volume he had from the most-southern franchise. Imagine a football world without the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Hawks, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New Orleans Saints. The league has two teams in Texas alone: Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. Under the cozy arrangement when the Redskins relocated to Washington, these franchises didn’t exist. Mr. Marshall once turned the parade march, which his wife and Sam Jack Kaufman wrote, “Fight for D.C.” into “fight for Dixie.”
Integration might please seekers of social justice; it would leave the owner’s pockets dry. I heard him mumbling during writer Povich’s nagging campaign. At any rate, Mr. Marshall would be astonished at the team’s composition today. There were only white quarterbacks as my years lengthened as my hair showed increasingly white. But these were after George P. Marshall’s ownership, when the club sold to Jack Kent Cook and subsequently to Dan Snyder – integration is past history.
Mr. Snyder defended “Redskins” against critics, pointing out it was an historic name that will suit him past next week; not so flippant, he said that there’s no need to change. Following in the Marshall tradition, the team’s owner proclaimed that, unlike Shirley Povich’s harassment, there is no moral law that it transgresses.
Being three kinds of Indian – Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasha – I go along with him – no matter what my old employer thinks!