Posts Tagged ‘Lone Star Dietz’

More Fake News

July 5, 2020

Bryan DeArdo posted the following as part of a July 3, 2020 article on that predicts a name change for the Washington Redskins. It appears that it is true that the team’s owner is folding under financial pressure from large corporations and will likely change the team’s name. However, the reason he gave for the 1933 name change appears to be more fake news.

Boston Braves became Washington Redskins

After just one year as the Braves, the franchise was renamed to the Redskins in 1933, four years before the team moved from Boston to Washington. The reason for the name change was simple: Boston’s new coach, Lone Star Dietz, and several of his Native American players disliked the name Braves and lobbied for the team to change its name to the Redskins. The franchise has kept the Redskins as its name until now.

This is the first time I’ve read or heard that Dietz and his players lobbied for a name change and it is interesting that DeArdo does not provide a source for his claim. I find it suspicious that he conveniently left out that the team relocated from Braves Field to Fenway Park at that time and that move was the reason cited by George Preston Marshall for the need to change the team’s name. He said fans would be confused by a team named the Braves not playing at Braves field as they had in the past. If memory serves, he owed some unpaid rent to the field’s owner who might have had problems with continued use of the name.

At least DeArdo didn’t claim that Marshall chose another name with an Indian motif to eliminate the need to buy new uniforms as had The Boston Globe in a December 29, 2013 article. That unresearched claim was easily refuted by viewing Boston newspaper articles from the beginning of the 1933 season. Marshall not only bought new uniforms for the Redskins, he changed the team’s colors and placed an emblem on the front reputedly designed by Lone Star Dietz.

More Misinformation About Redskins Name

March 16, 2015

On May 29, 2014, George Washington University Professor of Public Interest Law John F. Banzhaf III issued a press release titled “Defense of ‘Redskins’ Name Shattered—Pressure to Now Change ‘Racist’ Name Grows.” Banzhaf based his position on a quote from team owner George Preston Marshall in an Associated Press article printed in the Hartford Courant on July 6, 1933 (see below): “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.” The anti-Redskins activist media almost immediately published articles based on this press release.

Neither Banzhaf nor the media considered an article published the same day in the team’s hometown paper (see below) that contradicts the AP piece. In it, Marshall is attributed as saying “…the change was made to avoid confusion with the Braves baseball team and that the team is to be coached by an Indian, Lone Star Dietz, with several Indian players.” Could the AP or The Boston Herald get it wrong or did he say different things to different reporters? With Marshall anything is possible.

Banzhaf says nothing about Marshall’s primary reason for changing the team’s name as stated in both articles: confusion with the Boston Braves baseball team. On the surface, this reason is, to use a technical term, hogwash. NFL teams routinely capitalized on the name recognition of baseball teams in those ragtag years. The Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Washington Senators football teams were all named after the baseball teams in their cities. The Giants still use the name decades after the baseball team abandoned New York for San Francisco. Marshall had done that in 1932 when he named his team the Boston Braves but something was changing.

Marshall was surely negotiating a move to Fenway Park at that time because, two weeks later, he announced the team’s relocation. Changing the team’s name was likely necessary to avoid legal problems with the baseball team’s and Braves Field’s owners.

Something else Banzhaf doesn’t mention is the September 27, 1987 Washington Post op-ed piece in which Marshall’s granddaughter wrote, “Fact is, he chose the name because he had always been an admirer of the American Indian and because one of the team’s coaches, ‘Lone Star’ Dietz, was himself an American Indian.” That Marshall had a fascination with Indians is well known as is his later statement that Dietz was the smartest coach he ever had.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, especially when in the mind of an academic on a crusade.

1933-07-06 Redskins Hartford Courant

1933-07-06 Redskins renamed



Dragged into the Redskins Naming Controversy

November 12, 2013

As followers of this blog know, Lone Star Dietz’s name pops into the news whenever the Redskins naming controversy heats up. After President Obama interjected himself into this matter, I started getting calls from reporters again. So far, my name has appeared in several places and has caused some embarrassment for me as well as some amusement.

The first mention I was made aware of was on the Redskins’ Official Site:

Unfortunately, the posting included a photo with the caption I unwittingly used in my book.  The Albright College player standing between Jim Thorpe and Lone Star Dietz in the photo was not Leo Disend as the 60-some-year-old yearbook stated. I became painfully aware of that mistake during the Q&A session at the end of my very first book talk when Leo Disend’s brother informed me that the player in the photo was identified correctly. Accepting that he must know what his brother looked like, I informed Albright College of the error. After conducting some research, they determined that the player in question was in fact John Killiany.

The Washington Post published a large spread on Dietz that mentioned me briefly:

The Post also posted a video of Barry Zientek on its web site: Barry Zientek’s parents befriended Lone Star & Doris Dietz in their old age and helped them in many ways when they lived in poverty.

Reading PA The Morning Call published an article from Lone Star’s grave written by the same Washington Post reporter:,0,656374.story?track=rss

For the first time I’m aware of, I was mentioned in a foreign newspaper, the Daily Mail of London, England in an error-riddled article:  However, I wasn’t mentioned for saying anything about Dietz; I was credited with having given the Mail permission to use the image of the 1908 St. Louis Globe-Democrat article on Dietz of which I own the only surviving copy. (I’d like to have one in better condition but haven’t been able to find one.) Oddly, I have no memory of being contacted by the Daily Mail to use this or any other image I own.

Booktalk surprises

March 18, 2008

It was almost two years ago that I gave my first booktalk on Keep A-goin’: the life of Lone Star Dietz. Things went smoothly until the question and answer session when a gentleman informed me that a photo in my book had an incorrect caption. The caption below a photo on page 290 of two men in business suits flanking a smaller young man in his Albright College  football uniform read, “Jim Thorpe shows Leo Disend some tricks as Lone Star looks on.” There can’t be anything wrong with that, I thought, because it came straight from an Albright College yearbook. Also, I knew what Jim Thorpe and Lone Star Dietz looked like, so it couldn’t be wrong. Or so I thought.

The gentleman then informed me that the player in the photo was not Leo Disend. He didn’t know who it was but he was sure it wasn’t Moose, as Leo was better known as. The man identified himself as Sid Disend, Leo’s bother. Well, I couldn’t argue with him because he surely knew what his brother looked like. He also said that the layer in the photo was not wearing Leo’s number. I then had to find out who the mysterious number 31 in the photo was.

The next day I emailed Francine Scoboria, Manager of Advancement Communications at Albright College, to inform her of this long-standing error. She researched the issue and found that the mystery man was John Killiany, class of 1946, varsity quarterback.

The lesson in this was that errors made decades earlier, this time over 60 years before, often are assumed to be correct years later. So, when you’re researching the past, don’t be surprised when you encounter conflicting information. Either or both source may be wrong.

Now I’m off to research the great Dickinson College crockery riot of 1912.

April 8, 2008

It is with sadness I report seeing the following in today’s Harrisburg Patriot-News:

Sidney DisendSid Disend, 86, of Harrisburg, died Sunday April 6, 2008 at the Carolyn Croxton Slane Hospice Residence on Linglestown Road.
Born in Roselle, NJ, he was the son of Samuel and Sarah Disend. Sid graduated from Albright College in Reading, PA with a degree in Education then served his country in World War II at the Battle of the Bulge in the U.S. Army as a sergeant in the 95th Division, Field Artillery.
He was the owner/operator of Ess & Dee Venetian Blind Company then retired as Regional Sales Manager for the R.W. Norman Company of Salisbury, NC, responsible for the entire Northeast territory.
He was a member of Temple Ohev Sholom, a member of the Brotherhood, and Principal of the Religious School. He was the Past President of the Harrisburg Jaycees, and the recipient of their first Honorary Life Membership. He was the Founder and Past President of the Wilson Park Civic Association, Founder and Past President of the Latshmere Crime Watch, a charter member of the Susquehanna Rovers Volksport Association, and a founding member of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association.
Sid was also an active volunteer at the Harrisburg State Hospital, the Jewish Home of Greater Harrisburg, a Dispatcher for the Susquehanna Township’s Indian Wheels, an Instructor with the Literacy Council, and, with his wife Shirley, was responsible for the development of the “Five Senses Gardens, on the Greenbelt.
Sid is survived by his wife of 64 years, Shirley, son Jeff and his wife Kay of Atlanta, son Randy of Harrisburg, and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. in the Bookstaber Chapel of Mount Moriah Cemetery. An additional memorial service will be held in the Manor at Oakridge, 4500 Oakhurst Blvd., Harrisburg, PA on Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
Arrangements by Fackler-Wiedeman Funeral Home, Harrisburg. There will be no viewing or visitation.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Five Senses Gardens, c/o Capital Area Greenbelt Association, P.O. Box 15404, Harrisburg, PA 17105 or Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 206, Enola, PA 17025.
Sid has donated his body to science through the Humanity Gifts Registry at the Hershey Medical Center.



March 7, 2008

Welcome to my world. For most of the new century I have been researching the lives of Carlisle Indian School football stars, something that has been a very rewarding experience. Along the way we – my wife Ann assists in the research and sometimes finds some unexpected things – have met some interesting and very helpful people. We have also discovered things for which we can’t find places in the books but which people may find interesting. Let’s start with something recent.

In the summer of 2002, Ann and I took a tour of Tanzania with a group of 10 people. At night when we were all assembled for the first time, the guide subjected us to the dreaded circle routine. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I said that I was writing a book on Lone Star Dietz. A woman a couple of places away from me in the circle responded, “Do you mean Lone Star Dietz the football coach?” I responded in the affirmative and asked how she knew about him. The woman – Betty Tyler – informed me that, when she was a child the Dietzes lived next door to her in Reading, Pennsylvania, where he coached the Albright College football team at that time. I was shocked to meet someone who actually knew Dietz in a group of 10 people on the other side of the world.

Betty’s mother, Dorothy Hawkins, was living near Charleston, South Carolina at the time and, although in her 90s, had a very clear mind. That fall Ann and I visited some friends in Charleston – the ones who arranged the Africa trip – so I could interview Mrs. Hawkins. Dorothy was a lovely person and shared information about Lone Star that one cannot find in newspaper reports or public files. She was very helpful, especially because she and her family moved to Pittsburgh and kept in contact with the Dietzes who were also living there after the war. Through Betty and her mother I was also able to interview Betty’s brother. That interview was conducted over the phone because he lives in San Francisco. He recalled Lone Star parading up and down the street in his Sioux regalia and challenging the kids to tug on his pitch-black hair to show that it was all real.

Late last year we received some sad news: Dorothy Hawkins had died. In addition to the bad news, Betty Tyler gave us some good news. Betty’s mother had a painting Lone Star gave her many years ago and Betty didn’t have a place for it in her house. Knowing that I was so interested in Lone Star and would appreciate it, she gave it to me. What good fortune! Now I must reorganize my already cluttered office to give it an appropriate place on the wall.

To learn more about Lone Star Dietz, check out To learn more about my upcoming book, check out If you’re interested in seeing video previews for the books, look at

Now I must go to the Cumberland County Historical Society to look at the Jim Thorpe letters they just acquired. More on that later.