Ed Driscoll

HOG HEAVEN: ESPN.com's "Page 2"

HOG HEAVEN: ESPN.com’s “Page 2” section goes to Washington, with a variety of articles both amusing and serious on the Redskins, including this piece on the Skins’ great offensive line of yore, the Hogs; an article by George Allen’s daughter, Jennifer, on Richard Nixon’s influence on her dad’s playbook; and a terrific article by Thomas G. Smith, a history professor at Nichols College in Massachussetts, called “Civil Rights on the Gridiron“, about how the Redskins, the last all-white team in the NFL, were finally integrated in the early 1960s.

There’s an astonishing quote by George Preston Marshall’s, the Redskins’ then owner, who once said, “We’ll start signing Negroes, when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.” Of course, there’s (at least) two enormous fallacies in that statement:

1. The Globetrotters were (and are) an exhibition team. Everybody expects them to beat the patsies who play against them.

2. The Redskins were getting creamed as an all-white team, and they had to play in the brutally competitive NFL, and were losing their seasons–badly. But it took the Kennedy administration, along with societal, and economic pressures, to finally force Marshall to make what should have been an easy decision.

Anyhow, that article and the rest of the ‘Skins pieces on Page Two make for great reading for any NFL fan enduring the painfully long off-season.