Washington Redskins under fire after honoring Navajo Code Talkers
NOV 26, 2013 8:52p ET
Four members of the famed Navajo Nation Code Talkers were honored at a Washington Redskins game.
The men's appearance at Monday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers came during the Redskins' military appreciation night. But it's also fueling the debate over the team's mascot, which has been criticized as racist and offensive.
“It does not take a code talker to crack this particular code. Dan Snyder is on the wrong side of history.”
Numerous groups condemned the ceremony, with The Nation columnist Dave Zirin writing: "It does not take a code talker to crack this particular code. (Washington team owner) Dan Snyder is on the wrong side of history."
On the field, the crowd cheered as Peter MacDonald Sr., George Willie Sr., George James Sr. and Roy Hawthorne stepped onto the field during the first quarter.
A video shown overhead paid tribute to the Code Talkers, who used their native language to confound the Japanese during World War II. The video ends with MacDonald saying, ''Hail to the Redskins. Go, Redskins. Let's do it.''
The Redskins declined to make the Code Talkers available for interviews at the game, and attempts to reach them Tuesday were unsuccessful.
However, plenty of opinions could be found on Twitter.
Reminds me of racist original owner George Preston Marshall making first black player Bobby Mitchell sing Dixie. http://t.co/5QNe9KL0lu— Kevin B. Blackistone (@ProfBlackistone) November 26, 2013
Hey Washington Redskins: If you really think it's not an offensive term, go ahead and call those Navajo Code Talkers "Redskins". I dare you.— Shiny Failure (@shinyfailure) November 26, 2013
Wait Dan Snyder really honored Navajo Code Talkers at halftime? That's what Kenny Powers would do if he owned the Redskins— Matthew Zeitlin (@MattZeitlin) November 26, 2013
—The Associated Press contributed to this report