A liberal blogger and campaign manager for Democratic candidates has resigned his position as blogger for the Washington Redskins less than two weeks after his hiring.
Ben Tribbett had come under attack from former political allies for his job defending the team’s nickname. He had been criticized for crass opportunism in embracing the Redskins gig since he had taken such a public stand against the use of ethnic terms far less controversial than “redskins” in the past.
One Twitterican reminded Tribbett, “You’re a douche. Period.”
“Obv. this issue with Redskins is one where I don’t see eye to eye with some friends,” Tribbett tweeted in announcing his resignation. “I just don’t agree with the attacks on the team name.” The man behind the defunct Not Larry Sabato blog–abandoned immediately prior to the commencement of the Redskins blogging–continued, “I don’t want to be a distraction to the team as the political attacks have shifted towards being personal towards me.”
But the attacks may prove less a distraction to the team than an impediment to Tribbett’s career in liberal politics. Indian Country Media Network highlights old tweets in which Tribbett calls a reservation gaming employee “chief” and boasts of “scalping” him. The group also depicts Tribbett as a hypocrite, positing that “Tribbett in 2006 just does not seem like the sort of person who would take a job defending the Redskins name.”
Tribbett may be most famous for derailing the 2006 U.S. Senate reelection campaign of George Allen. Critics point out that when the partisan blogger broke the “macaca” story–charging that the obscure term used by Allen, brother of current Redskins GM Bruce Allen and son of legendary Redskins coach George Allen, had racist connotations–he then pointed to “redskin” as an example of a similarly offensive term.
While the origins and meaning of the term “macaca” may be convoluted, the source of the name “Redskins” appears clear enough. Like the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, and many of the teams in the early NFL, the Boston football team took its name from the city’s Major League Baseball franchise as a way of sponging off the popularity of baseball. When the fledgling NFL franchise moved from Braves Field to Fenway Park after its inaugural 1932 season, the team changed its name from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins in homage to the Red Sox.