Hall of Fame says bylaws don’t allow removing George Preston Marshall or anyone else

Getty Images

A monument to George Preston Marshall, former owner of Washington’s NFL team, has been removed from the stadium where they used to play because he was a segregationist who prevented black players from playing on his team until the government forced him to integrate. That raises a question: Should Marshall’s bust also be removed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

The Hall of Fame said that’s not possible: Once the selection committee puts a Hall of Famer in, he’s a Hall of Famer forever.

“Once elected, nothing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s bylaws allows for the removal of a Hall member,” the Hall of Fame said in a statement to PFT.

But the bylaws could, of course, be changed. By declining to change them, the Hall of Fame may be less standing up for Marshall than avoiding the idea that every Hall of Famer is always subject to scrutiny, even decades after he’s enshrined in Canton.

O.J. Simpson would be an obvious example of a player who some would say should be removed, but there’s a fundamental difference between Simpson and Marshall: Simpson was elected solely for what he did on the field, and no one disputes that Simpson was a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Marshall was elected specifically as a contributor, which the Hall of Fame says is designed for people who made outstanding contributions to the game in capacities other than playing or coaching.

In 1963, when Marshall was enshrined in the Hall of Fame, his years as an owner were viewed as “outstanding contributions.” But with more than half a century to reflect on Marshall’s role in the NFL, it’s hard to justify the stance that his contributions were, on balance, worthy of a bust in Canton. Any positives he contributed to the league are outweighed by the enormous negative of keeping black players off his team solely because of the color of their skin.

19 responses to “Hall of Fame says bylaws don’t allow removing George Preston Marshall or anyone else

  1. Marshall was a racist, straight up. He was a racist in a racist city during a racist era. His business was supported by racist fans. So, Marshall wasn’t perfect and no profile in courage. The problem here is that during that era a lot of the players and coaches were as racist or more so than Marshall. Do we start looking through their histories and remove them from the Hall too?

    This isn’t to excuse Marshall or support his views, but he’s a small fish is a sea of bigotry.

    Statues honoring those who fought against the United States to preserve slavery are another matter–their statues and honors need to be wiped away. Treason should not be rewarded.

  2. joetoronto says:
    June 20, 2020 at 9:29 am
    I say we cancel the cancel culture.
    How about we stop honoring racists and segregationists?

  3. On one hand people hate those who kneel because it “disrespects” the flag, on the other hand they think it’s appropriate to honor those who committed treason and fought against that flag.

  4. Yes, he was a segregationist, and a racist. Positive he’s not the only one in Canton.

    I don’t see any statutes being built in honour of the nut jobs tearing down what other people have built.

  5. So let’s get O.J Simpson removed from the Hall of Fame next then, and that reasoning doesn’t need explaining its very offensive to many people that his bust graces that Hall. Then when we’re done I’d like to see the greatest defensive pass rusher to ever play the game removed from the Hall of Fame as well. We can’t have a guy who was accused of a sexual crime, and convicted of various crimes involving drugs represented in such a hallowed hall now can we? Let’s not stop there we have some confirmed cheaters in the Hall of Fame as well, and they should have their busts removed. Jerry Rice is one such cheater he admitted that he used a banned substance when he played, and that is offensive to some purists so he needs to go too…It’s a slippery slope folks where does it end? It won’t end unless people say enough is enough….and I say ENOUGH ALREADY

  6. Also from the HoF bio:

    “At his funeral in 1969, then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle summed up the master showman’s unusual gift to the NFL. “Mr. Marshall was an outspoken foe of the status quo when most were content with it,” he said. “We are all beneficiaries of what his dynamic personality helped shape over more than three decades.”

    What a joke.

  7. touchback6 says:

    June 20, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Au contraire!

    Article 46, Baby


    Not surprised that you confuse apples to oranges. NFL bylaws have what to do with the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

  8. Let’s stop honoring Hispanics founders in the southwest who helped in native American genocide, white and black pioneers who where all about CHinese persecution in CAlifornia. Protestant colonialists who did what they could to disenfranchise Catholics and vice versa .

    19th century new york and Baltimore politicians who openly hated and abused Irishman.

    How about any man before a certain date who thought women shouldn’t vote or that they were weaker and less intelligent than men?

    Where does it end? We need to work on the fact that there are police officers out there who seem to enjoy hurting or killing American citizens and then being saved by the Blue Line when prosecution occurs.

    I understand that they’re are deep issues with the history of this country , many and all countries all participated in horrible things if you dig deep enough.

    Blotting it out like it didn’t happen isn’t going to fix what’s happening now with the police and African Americans and the general population for that matter .

    I don’t have some quick easy answer because there isn’t one but I can tell you what’s not going to work .

  9. A lot of players in the hall will be gone if those bylaws change. Some are still around, even. This is a dangerous precedent and the Overton window won’t always favor you. And if you do go ahead, don’t cry tomorrow when you’re not the ones with pitchforks.

  10. There can be a case that George Preston Marshall might be also natural-born erratic abused person, besides being a racist along the way, until his 1969 death. He was born right after the Civil War, but he inherited abused genes from both of his conservative parents, who were born before the Civil War. Both during and after the Civil War, his parents may have gotten abused and lured into that dark side erratically as Confederates.

    So, as a matter of fact, it is both abuse and racism on this “Redskins” team name creation which result as the main problem issue, nothing else, that’s all TBH, IMO…

  11. Toppling the various statues as well as changing some of the brand names will fix it right up.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.