The New York Times asked a pointed question recently in its editorial: Who made that Redskins Logo?
The story behind the logo, as told by the Times, is that in October of 1933, the Boston Redskins—the football team’s first hometown was in Boston and then, they moved to Washington, D.C.— traveled to Chicago to play the Bears. When they arrived, George Preston Marshall the team’s first owner, ordered his players to “smear themselves with face paint before going out onto the field”; the half-time band marched in tribal regalia; and the coach, William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz, wore feathers on the sideline.
Marshall also had an Indian–head logo printed across the center of the players’ uniforms. According to a blog site, Blog.HeritageSportsArt.com that keeps record of sports team’s uniforms, the uniform that debuted at that Bears game remained the team’s until 1937.
Law professor and historian, J. Gordon Hylton, who wrote Before the Redskins Were the Redskins, says Marshall’s decision to use a Native mascot was unusual. Hylton said that among the NFL owners, Marshall was the only one who felt that it was acceptable to use an American Indian name.
Hylton said in the Q&A with the Times that Marshall also had a slightly odd obsession. “He also had this whole weird thing about the White Confederates and Indians being joined by some mystical bond.”
No matter how the “Redskins” logo came about—Whether it was adopted because Marshall had a weird “obsession” with Native American culture or named his team “Redskins” because of genuine interest in Native culture; or because he was an unapologetic racist—Marshall profited handsomely off of Native iconography, and his team continues to do so.
You can read the entire article at NYTimes.com.