ThinkProgress tells the tale of a 1933 news article featuring George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the team.
As challenges against the name of the Washington Redskins have persisted for more than four decades, the teams ownership and management has held on to a consistent story: that the team changed its original name — the Boston Braves — to the Boston Redskins in 1933 to honor its coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who maintained at the time that he was a member of the Sioux tribe.
But in a 1933 interview with the Associated Press, George Preston Marshall, the team’s owner and original founder, admitted that the story wasn’t true.
“The fact that we have in our head coach, Lone Star Dietz, an Indian, together with several Indian players, has not, as may be suspected, inspired me to select the name Redskins,” Marshall said in the AP report. The quote was originally referenced in a story on the team’s name at Sports Illustrated’s MMQB site. Jesse Witten, the lead attorney in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the team’s federal trademark protection, unearthed the actual AP report this week, and provided it to to Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney. ESPN’s Keith Olbermann reported it on his show, “Olbermann,” Thursday night.