FIGHT FOR OLD DC: George Preston Marshall, the Integration of the Washington Redskins, and the Rise of a New NFL
In 1932 laundry-store tycoon George Preston Marshall became part owner of the Boston Braves franchise in the National Football League.
To separate his franchise from the baseball team, he renamed it the Redskins in 1933 and then in 1937 moved his team to Washington DC, where the team won two NFL championships over the next decade. But it was off the field that Marshall made his lasting impact. An innovator, he achieved many “firsts” in professional football. His team was the first to telecast all its games, have its own fight song and a halftime show, and assemble its own marching band and cheerleading squad. He viewed football as an entertainment business and accordingly made changes to increase scoring and improve the fan experience.
But along with innovation, there was controversy. Marshall was a proud son of the South, and as the fifties came to a close, his team remained the only franchise in the three major league sports to not have a single black player. Marshall came under pressure from Congress and the NFL and its president, Pete Rozelle, as league expansion and new television contract possibilities forced the issue on the reluctant owner. Outside forces finally pushed Marshall to trade for Bobby Mitchell, the team’s first black player, in 1962. With the story of Marshall’s holdout as the backdrop, Fight for Old DC chronicles these pivotal years when the NFL began its ascent to the top of the nation’s sporting interest.
Really enjoyed this book because it filled in a lot of history about the NFL, which I did not know about. Also you got a story and look into George Preston, the owner of the Washington Redskins, who was the last NFL team to have an African American play on the team. To break the color barrier in baseball was 47 and in football was in by 1946 Kenny Washington. There was Blacks playing before, but in 1933 when it just so happen when Marshall took over the Redskins he also lead a rule change to discriminate, so from then until 46 no one played on a team. The author takes you back in time at the look of the league and being small how just a few strong owners could sway the rest to vote one or another. Something else that was interesting was that commissioner Bert Bell in the fifties wanted to do away with the extra point back then, saying it made the game boring. This now is not something new. I also found out that some of this new commissioners ideas are really the same as Bell’s from the fifties, and I found that to be fascinating. The story itself was a good read and I enjoyed it. Watching Bobby Mitchell play for the Redskins when I was a kid I did not know all of the history behind him being the first African American player for the Redskins in 61. I simply enjoyed the game and the way he ran the ball. Now knowing the history behind it, it makes me think that maybe if he would have changed his ways his team would have been more successful on the field. Just my thought. Overall a book. I got this book from netgalley. I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com