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WASHINGTON – A monument to Washington Washington Football Team founder George Preston Marshall, the last NFL owner to integrate his squad, was taken apart and removed from the grounds of RFK Stadium on Friday.

The monument was taken down on Juneteenth by Events DC, Washington’s convention and sports authority that manages the 190-acre area that served as the Washington Football Team’s home stadium from 1961 to 1996, The Washington Post reported.

Marshall, a segregationist who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, did not integrate the Washington Football Team until 1962, 16 years after the NFL reintegrated. He founded the franchise in 1932 as the Boston Braves and renamed the team the Washington Football Team the following year, ESPN reported. Marshall moved the team to the nation’s capital in 1937.

Max Brown, the chairman of the Events DC board of directors, and Greg O’Dell, the organization’s president and CEO, issued a joint statement that said dismantling the monument was “a small and overdue step on the road to lasting equality and justice.”

“This symbol of a person who didn’t believe all men and women were created equal and who actually worked against integration is counter to all that we as people, a city, and nation represent,” the statement read. “We believe that injustice and inequality of all forms is reprehensible, and we are firmly committed to confronting unequal treatment and working together toward healing our city and country.”

The Washington Football Team were not consulted on the removal, the Post reported. The team declined to comment through a spokesperson.

Only a few African Americans had been in the NFL from its founding until 1933. That included Frederick “Duke” Slater, who played from 1922 to 1931, and Fritz Pollard, who played and coached from 1920 to 1928, according to the NFL.

The Los Angeles Rams reintegrated the league in 1946. The first African American to play for the Washington Football Team was Bobby Mitchell in 1962.

Marshall once said he would sign African American players once the Harlem Globetrotters signed white players, ESPN reported. As the NFL’s southernmost franchise for many years, Marshall had the team’s marching band play “Dixie” on the field for 23 years. The NAACP protested against Marshall at a league owners meeting in 1957 and once picketed outside his home, ESPN reported.

Marshall finally integrated the Washington Football Team in 1962 after Interior Secretary and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy threatened to revoke permission to play at D.C. Stadium (later renamed RFK Stadium), which was built on federally owned land, the Post reported.

The Washington Football Team left RFK Stadium after the 1996 season and moved to FedEx Field in northern Virginia. The lower seating bowl at FedEx is called the George Preston Marshall Level, and Marshall’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Fame that hangs on the stadium facade, the Post reported.

Monument to Washington Washington Football Team founder removed from RFK Stadium area

George Preston Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his team, the Washington Washington Football Team. His monument was removed from RFK Stadium on Friday.