There is a movement going on worldwide to remove statues and memorials to historical figures that have been linked to racism, genocide, and other atrocities in the past. This is controversial and has caused protests from both sides. The issue has been brought to the public’s conscience due to the murder of George Floyd, and the protests that have followed.
This was almost guaranteed to affect the Washington Redskins, a team that has vigorously defended their team name under owner Dan Snyder from calls to change it. George Preston Marshall was a notorious racist who actively worked against integrating the NFL with black players. He was eventually forced to integrate when the US government threatened to not allow him to use the District of Columbia Stadium(RFK Stadium) for games.
There were calls to have Marshall’s memorial statue removed from outside of RFK Stadium, and it was reportedly vandalized last night. Today, as the country recognizes Juneteenth, Events DC removed the statue and issued a statement explaining the removal. The Redskins name is a different matter, and Snyder has vowed to never change it. It would likely take an incredible amount of pressure from the NFL itself to force that kind of change.
Events DC Statement: George Preston Marshall Memorial Statue Removal
Events DC Statement:
This morning, Events DC removed the George Preston Marshall memorial statue that stood out front of RFK Stadium. 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. We believe that injustice and inequality of all forms is reprehensible and we are firmly committed to confronting unequal treatment and working together toward healing our city and country.
Removing this statue is a small and an overdue step on the road to lasting equality and justice. We recognize that we can do better and act now. We’ve heard from many of our stakeholders in the community, and we thank you. Allowing the memorial to remain on the RFK Campus goes against Events DC’s values of inclusion and equality and is a disturbing symbol to many in the city we serve.
-Max Brown, Chairman, Events DC Board of Directors and Greg O’Dell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Events DC