Opinion | Sports

Column: Team wasn't named in honor of alleged Indian coach

Columnist explores a 1933 article in which the owner of the Washington NFL team explains why he chose a racial slur as a mascot:
The team and NFL have claimed that then-owner George Preston Marshall picked the current name to honor the team’s Indian coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, and some Indian players on the squad.

There’s a lot of controversy over whether Dietz was actually a Native American. Witten’s article doesn’t resolve that.

But it does refute the team’s contention that the name was selected to celebrate Dietz.

The proof is in a July 6, 1933, edition of the Hartford Courant, which Witten unearthed after the sports Web site MMQB tipped him off about it.

The edition includes a short Associated Press dispatch quoting Marshall saying: “The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins.”

Instead, Marshall explains, he gave up “Braves” to avoid confusion with a Boston professional baseball team of the same name. He apparently picked the Redskins name so he could keep the existing Native American logo.

Get the Story:
Robert McCartney: 1933 news article refutes cherished tale that Redskins were named to honor Indian coach (The Washington Post 5/29)

Also Today:
NFL players asked to support Redskins name change (The Washington Post 5/28)
Redskins name campaign targets every NFL player (AP 5/27)

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