Despite a heated months-long battle over their team’s name being deemed offensive to Native Americans, the Washington Redskins honored four Navajo Code Talkers in a ceremony before Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Four representatives from the Navajo Code Talkers Association stood in the end zone of the Redskins home turf, FedEx Field, during a ceremony to honor their service in World War II. They donned Redskins jackets along with their military hats:
The Code Talkers, Native Americans who served in the Army and Marines during World War II, where they transmitted secret communications to and from the battlefield, were an integral part of success in military campaigns, especially against Japan in the Pacific Theater.
The ceremony was part of the NFL’s salute to military veterans, but it comes as controversy continues to swirl over Washington’s team name. Several Native American tribes have called for the for the team to change its name from the term that is often seen as a derogatory slur. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has refused to change the team’s name.