A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Navajo President Explains His Game Time Activities

In support of NFL Team Name or Seeking NFL Agreement?

In support of NFL Team Name or Seeking NFL Agreement?

PHOENIX — Social media was abuzz late Sunday afternoon after a photograph was posted was online featuring out-going Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and his wife Martha sitting in Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder’s suite during the Arizona Cardinals and Washington NFL game.

A picture is worth a thousand words is an old adage.

Given Snyder is viewed as a modern-day George Armstrong Custer because of his total disregard of the feelings of hundreds of thousands American Indians about wanting him to change the name of his team, comments were not charitable towards the President Shelly. And given the Navajo Nation Council voted for a resolution calling for a name change of the Washington NFL team, there were many negative comments.

Many comments referred to President Shelly as a “sell-out.”

Late Monday afternoon, the Navajo President’s office issued a news release justifying President Shelly’s game time activities. The release said President Shelly was there to “discuss the expansion of an NFL agreement.”

In early 2014, the Navajo Nation entered into a licensing agreement with the National Football League. The NFL executed the franchising agreement with Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise for the sale of Navajo jewelry, rugs, sand paintings and other arts and crafts at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

This unique partnership has potential for more opportunities for the Navajo Nation.

In many instances, an NFL licensing agreement costs millions of dollars and is worth millions more in potential revenue from sales at stadiums across the country. The Redskins waived the licensing fee for the Navajo Nation and are working with the league to open the agreement for the rest of the NFL.

President Shelly met with Dan Snyder to discuss expansion of the licensing agreement to the other 31 NFL teams across the country.

“We have an enormous opportunity to bring more business to Navajo craftsmen and artisans,” President Shelly said. “This licensing agreement with the NFL has opened the door for new jobs and economic development for the Nation.”

“We were there on a mission,” President Shelly said, adding that the meeting between the Navajo Nation and the Washington NFL team was about more than football.

Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development, Albert Damon, has worked on the licensing agreement between the Navajo Nation and the Washington NFL team from the start of negotiations.

“This licensing agreement allows for growth of the Nation’s cottage industry for developing arts and crafts,” Damon said. “The Redskins offered first and the NFL issued the licensing agreement.

“Now we’re after the other teams,” he added.



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