- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2001

The Washington Redskins bid farewell to RFK Stadium five years ago. Now the D.C. agency that runs the stadium is ready to say goodbye to the man who founded the team.

The D.C. Sports Entertainment Commission plans to get rid of a memorial to former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall that for 31 years has stood outside the main gate of RFK Stadium.

The commission plans to give the 10-foot brown marble marker to Marshall's granddaughter, Jordan Wright.

Mrs. Wright, who lives in Northern Virginia, declined to comment other than to say that relocation plans are not finished. Paperwork to complete the transfer is under way, and it is believed that Mrs. Wright is considering placing the marker in a park. The parks under consideration are not known.

Commission president Bobby Goldwater said the memorial was offered to the Redskins, who declined. Redskins vice president Karl Swanson said team officials weren't contacted and that the Redskins would be interested in taking the monument. FedEx Field, where the Redskins relocated in 1997 after 36 years at RFK Stadium, has a level named for Marshall.

The commission also is considering giving away a monument to late Washington Senators owner Clark Calvin Griffith. A 6-foot monument to Robert F. Kennedy — the stadium's namesake — will remain.

Mr. Goldwater said Tuesday that the monuments are being removed because of stadium expansion, but he refused to say what will replace them. Fans arriving at the stadium from the nearby Metro station walk past the Marshall monument, making it a commercially attractive site.

Neither marker was offered to the D.C. government. Mr. Goldwater said it seemed improper to have the monuments in another part of the city while the stadium remains open.

"It needs to have a proper home," Mr. Goldwater said of Marshall's monument. "We honor and respect the great tradition of the Redskins at RFK."

The monument to Marshall was erected by Redskins alumni and friends shortly after his death in 1969. The marker has Marshall's likeness on a large plaque atop the front and a Redskins logo on the back.

Marshall moved the team to Washington in 1937 after five seasons in Boston. He is credited with such National Football League innovations as divisional playoffs and the Pro Bowl. However, the Redskins also were the last NFL team to sign a black player; Marshall feared it would hurt his extensive radio network and fan following in the South. Marshall is buried in his hometown of Grafton, W.Va.

The Griffith monument was erected by "friends and fans of Washington" after his death in 1955 and details exploits as an owner, manager and citizen. The white marble marker has some minor blemishes.

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