Forty-nine years ago, on January 18, 1969, the Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall announced that the District of Columbia Stadium would be renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in honor of the U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate who had been assassinated just 6 months earlier.
Because the stadium sits on Federal land, the Secretary of the Interior is essentially the stadium’s landlord. The District of Columbia, through a public-private partnership with Events DC, owns the stadium but leases the land from the National Park Service. Because of this, eight years earlier Secretary Udall was able to put pressure on the Washington Redskins, the only remaining NFL team that had not hired a Black player.
RFK stadium was home to the Washington Senators from 1962 to 1971. Baseball returned to Washington and RFK in 2005 when the Montreal Expos relocated to DC and became the Washington Nationals. The Nationals played there through the 2007 season. After more than 21 seasons at RFK Stadium, Major League Soccer’s D.C. United played their last game at the stadium in October 2017.