GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ben Shelly, the president of Navajo Nation, and his wife Martha sat with Redskins owner Dan Snyder in a suite during the game.
Shelly, who was not re-elected to his post in August and will be replaced in January, said during the summer that he believes the Redskins’ nickname is offensive. In April, the Navajo tribe attempted to distance itself from a charity golf tournament designed to raise scholarships for college students co-sponsored by KTNN-AM, its Navajo-language radio station, and the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
“The Washington Redskins are proud to have President Ben Shelly and the Navajos along with Zuni and other Western region tribes that joined the us at the game today,” said spokesman Tony Wyllie, the team’s vice president of communications. “This is representative of the support we have among Native Americans nationwide.”
Before the game, a group of approximately 75 people participated in a protest of the Redskins’ nickname outside University of Phoenix Stadium. Signs at the protest, which began three hours prior to kickoff, carried slogans such as “Game over for racism” and “Snyder can’t buy my support.”