Bride & Groom MOM Subscribe

Find Local

Capital Comment Blog > Sports

Redskins Honor World War II-Era Navajo Code Talkers, Awkwardness Ensues

No one was fooled by the team’s publicity stunt.

In a publicity stunt more awkward than the Redskins’ failure to convert on fourth-and-two, the team showed a video during halftime of last night’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers honoring four World War II veterans who served as Navajo “code talkers.”

The FedEx Field crowd cheered, and rightly so—Native American members of the military played a crucial role in formulating coded messages during the war. But nobody was fooled: the gesture comes after months of controversy over the home team’s name.

The veterans were trotted out to the sidelines wearing team merchandise as the stadium’s video screen filled with a recollection of the code talkers’ wartime achievements. The video also included footage of President Obama, who has said that if he had Dan Snyder’s job, he’d strongly consider changing the team’s name, and it ended with one of the veterans sheepishly saying, “Hail to the Redskins.”

Hey, it’s great that anyone, much less an NFL team, is honoring the service of people whose communications skills were critical in the United States winning the Battle of Iwo Jima. The NFL has been doing military tributes for several weeks, and November is Native American Heritage Month, so a night marking the accomplishments of Navajo code talkers makes fine sense. But the team that hosted them is still called “Redskins.”

Of course, in true Snyder fashion, if you really want to honor the code talkers, the team is more than happy to sell this T-shirt featuring a slick, futuristic inscription of the team’s name. It’s for kids.

Read Next

NPR’s Ari Shapiro Hopes London Means Fewer Suits and Maybe Lunch With Elton John

blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular on Washingtonian

“Life Below Zero’s” Andy Bassich on Why He Moved From Washington to Rural Alaska

The 25 Best Inexpensive Restaurants in Washington

8 Ways to Hack Eating Out

Here's a Map Showing Dozens of Washington's Rooftop Bars

Memorial Day 2015 Dining Guide: Crab and Oyster Feasts, Patio Parties, and Bottomless Brunches

9 Restaurants Native Washingtonians Love (Even If No Else Does)

How to Spend Memorial Day in Washington, DC

Things to Do in DC on Memorial Day Weekend

20 Great Walks Around Washington, DC