FedEx Field lower level replaces George Preston Marshall’s name with Bobby Mitchell’s

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A day after the D.C. government removed a monument to former Washington franchise owner George Preston Marshall, the team has also taken a step to disassociate itself from Marshall’s racist legacy.

Washington announced today that it is renaming the lower level of FedEx Field in honor of Bobby Mitchell, the team’s first black player. Marshall’s name appears nowhere in the team’s announcement, but the level had previously been named for Marshall.

The team also announced that it is retiring Mitchell’s No. 49 jersey.

“There is no one more deserving of these honors than the late Bobby Mitchell,” owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “Bobby was one of the most influential players not only in our team’s history, but in the National Football League. He excelled on the field, in the front office and most importantly in his community where he had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many through his charitable efforts. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known.”

Mitchell died in April at the age of 84. His widow, Gwen Mitchell, released a statement through the team.

“Bobby would have been thrilled and humbled by this wonderful recognition,” she said. “We were married for 64 years and while he worked hard and traveled throughout his life and was a dedicated football professional, he was also a totally dedicated family man. He was blessed by God with a large extended family and great friends. He was totally engaged in his work and his family and was a truly great man and a great husband. I would like to thank Dan Snyder and the entire Washington Redskins organization for this great honor.”

Washington was the only NFL team without any black players in 1962 when Marshall, under threat of being evicted from his stadium by the government, traded for Mitchell to integrate the team. Mitchell was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

29 responses to “FedEx Field lower level replaces George Preston Marshall’s name with Bobby Mitchell’s

  1. A richly deserved tribute. Bobby was a class act. He was one of the rare people who could walk through the roughest parts of DC and the Kennedy White House and be afforded equal measures of respect. And God, could he play. Given the passage of time and the fact that the Skins weren’t very good back then, people don’t fully appreciate Bobby’s brilliance. But he was one of the most gifted players to have ever played the game. And, if you don’t believe me, check out some of the clips. He was electrifying.

  2. Technically, Ernie Davis was Washington’s first black player. Technically. Just a fun fact.

  3. Techellooooooooooobrooklyn says:
    June 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm
    Technically, Ernie Davis was Washington’s first black player. Technically. Just a fun fact
    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    Technically Mr. Davis was drafted by Washington and shortly after traded to Cleveland. Mr. Davis never played a down for Washington or Cleveland sadly. So some might argue that Mr. Davis was never technically a player in the NFL. A sad story about a man who might have become an all-time great.

  4. A lot of good self-reflection and change is materializing from recent events. I worry about the sincerity of a number of these changes and the true motivations behind them, whether that be saving face, money etc. Regardless, change is occurring and I’m sure many are having that moment of introspection as Drew Brees did. There is always room for learning.

  5. Davis was the number 1 pick in the Draft. I wonder if the Skins ever performed a physical on Davis?

  6. Still waiting to see when Malcolm X’s name is going to be removed from the hundreds of buildings named after him. He did call all white people devil’s and opposed integration. I find that to be hateful, and would like those buildings to be renamed.

  7. Sean Taylor’s murder was horrible. But perhaps the organization could have spent more time recognizing Mitchell while he was alive. He’s the first black player in the history of the franchise and in the HOF.

    They’re still praising Taylor all over the team website and every opportunity that they get, but virtually pushed Mitchell into the background. They haven’t even retired his number!

  8. Great. Good move. Now change the racist name of the team and we’ll be getting somewhere. To keep the current team name is to spit in the face of all those who struggle for racial justice.

  9. Pandering. Unbelievable. Is anyone going to gave the gull to be themselves instead of bowing down to the agenda of a culture of malcontents?

  10. It is a step in the right direction. Mitchell should have been recognized long ago. A great player.

  11. Good move Mr.Snyder and just in case anybody gets any ideas….The name aint changing!!!!

  12. It’s really pretty simple. The nickname is such an issue, especially now, that it is going to cost Snyder revenue. It already is an impediment to locating a new stadium and getting financial support. He will either sell outright to someone who changes the name, or he will eventually do it himself, or the NFL will do it for him. It’s an unsustainable brand with which to grow revenue, at this point.

  13. That’s nice… but no matter how many statues are taken down or seating row’s name change Dan will never change the team’s name. There is no “groundswell” happening.

  14. There’s such an obvious political cartoon just waiting to be drawn here. Show a bunch of team employees rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic with the names of the moves they’ve made lately to try to not look racist.

    But have a giant elephant in the middle of the room with the TEAM NAME on it and Snyder adjusting his glasses in the corner being like, “Looks good!”

  15. Just get rid of ALL team mascot names at every level of sports .

    But of course someone somewhere will be offended.

  16. Should have named it after Kaepernick. Thats as close as he’ll ever get to getting on the field.

  17. Bobby Mitchell was a classy person and player. Paul Brown traded him to Washington partly due to the fact that he thought Mitchell was the high quality person that was required to integrate the Redskins. Bill Willis and Marion Motley were high quality men as well, integrating pro football in 1946 for the Browns.

  18. Ironic move in view of the name of that team. But what really needs to change is demolition of fedex field, change in ownership, move back to dc at any cost to the team, move training facility to dc as well, and ensure it’s on a metro line.

  19. I want to do my part in this ongoing fight against racist statue depictions and history that the left liberal mob is trying to eradicate. Please send me all $1-$10-$20-$50-$100-$500 and $1000 bills since they all are pictured with historical people involved with slavery. Send these denominations to me and I will ease your burden by disposing of them properly. Thank You.

  20. “Bobby Mitchell what are you doing coming down here late for this bus”?
    -Paul Brown

  21. Unless Snyder changes it to the Redskin Potatoes, that name is toast. I doubt anyone has ever heard ‘Redskin’ referring to a native American in a positive way.

  22. Not enough. Change the name! How can the indigenous people of this land continually be so disregarded. Equality for all!!

  23. Thought exercise: Every NFL team is given its name again, today.

    How many would run into issues with the name they’re given? Out of all the teams, only two would: the Redskins and the Chiefs. And of the two, only one is a slur that is not used anywhere else in everyday speech, or only in speech that would get you punched in the face or arrested for hate speech.

    There’s really no arguing that.

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