Re: Redskins name change?
George Preston Marshall:
Marshall has gained infamy for his intractable opposition to having African-Americans on his roster. According to professor Charles Ross, "For 24 years Marshall was identified as the leading racist in the NFL". Though the league had previously had a sprinkling of black players, blacks were excluded from all NFL teams just one year after the then-Boston Braves entered the league.
While the rest of the league began signing individual blacks in 1946 and actually drafting blacks in 1949, Marshall held out until 1962 before signing a black player. Along with his own personal views, Marshall refused to sign African-American players because of a desire to appeal to Southern markets. For most of his tenure as owner, the Redskins were the southernmost team in the NFL. His intractability was routinely mocked in Washington Post columns by legendary writer Shirley Povich, who sarcastically used terms from the civil rights movement and related court cases to describe games: for instance, he once wrote that Jim Brown "integrated" the end zone, making the score "separate but unequal".
Finally, in 1962, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy issued an ultimatum — unless Marshall signed a black player, the government would revoke the Redskins' 30-year lease on the year-old D.C. Stadium (now Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium), which had been paid for by government money and was owned by the Washington city government (which, then and now, is formally an arm of the federal government). Marshall's chief response was to make Ernie Davis, Syracuse's all-American running back, his number-one draft choice for 1962. Davis, however, demanded a trade, saying, "I won't play for that S.O.B." He got his wish, as the team sent him to Cleveland for All-Pro Bobby Mitchell. Mitchell was the first African American football player to play a game for the Redskins, and he played with the team for several years, initially at running back, but he made his biggest impact at wide receiver.
That man gave the team it's racist name. There's one hell of a point of pride for its fans.