Fifty years ago fans protested because the local team was the only segregated NFL franchise.
African-American fans have a love fest going with the Washington Redskins like most wouldn’t have believed 50 years ago.
That’s when the Redskins remained the last NFL team to desegregate. Black people and minority groups protested.
But today, there’s no sign that the Washington, D.C.-area’s black community harbors any resentment. The fact of the matter is that most fans likely have no recollection of the formerly all-white franchise they cheer so passionately for now.
The Washington Post, which did an interesting piece examining the relationship between black people and the Redskins this week, also conducted a poll of local sports fans. It found that two-thirds of the black community had a favorable view of the Redskins and that 4 in 10 fans had strong feelings where the organization is concerned.
Part of that could be a result of the positioning of the last two homes of the Redskins. The current FedEx Field is right in the middle of Prince George’s County, which is heavily populated by African-Americans. The old RFK Stadium sat on East Capitol Street.
“Look at where RFK is and was. It’s in the heart of the city,” said NBA guard Roger Mason Jr., a lifelong Redskins fan who followed the team with his father in his youth. “I’m not talking about the White House. I’m talking about Southeast.”
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(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)