Redskins ask Twitter followers to tweet #RedskinsPride at Sen. Reid, whose office calls social media stunt a failure
Seeking to settle the debate over whether the name is racist or offensive, the team sought support on social media. What it did, according to Reid’s office, is make the case for changing the name even more clear-cut.
By Jason Rubinstein | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Washington politicians and Washington football executives can’t agree on whether or not the name Redskins is racist.
And for once it seems the politicians are leading in the public opinion polls.
The Redskins — in response to a letter sent to the NFL and signed by half of the U.S. Senate urging commissioner Roger Goodell to support the movement to change the name — took to Twitter Thursday to try to settle the debate. They were essentially booed off the platform.
The team asked its 305,000-plus followers to “Tweet @SenatorReid to show your #RedskinsPride and tell him what the team means to you.”
While Sen. Harry Reid was, predictably, hit with remarks about sorting out the government’s issues before wading into the sports arena, his office maintains that the team’s efforts to win over the public on the controversial name blew up in their face.
“From our perspective, what we saw was just overwhelming opposition. It’s really made our day,” Faiz Shakir, Reid’s digital director, told the Washington Post.
“It has failed miserably,” he told Deadspin.
All this comes a week after the letter — co-signed by Senate Majority Leader Reid, a leading voice in calling for the team to change it’s name — from the politicos landed on Goodell’s desk. Redskins president Bruce Allen responded to the letter, with Allen defending the use of the name as “respectful.”
Allen’s letter was then tweeted out by the Redskins and received public support from current players including Ryan Kerrigan, Desean Jackson, Alfred Morris, Brian Orakpo and Pierre Garcon.
And while that player support may be reassuring, one former Redskins player doesn’t share the same sentiment and is perhaps the beginning to an outpouring of more support against the team name.
Ex-Redskins player Mark Schlereth — who won Super Bowl XXVI with the Washington — told ABC’s “This Week” that the name’s gotta go.
“It is time to change the name,” Schlereth said, becoming the highest-profile former player to speak out against the nickname. “There’s no question, if you research the history of that name, it’s a pejorative term and it needs to change.
“I mean, you would ever go into a conference of Native American people and walk up in front of them and refer to them as Redskins. It is a derogatory term, that’s its origins, and it is time to be a leader, from the standpoint of the NFL.
“High schools across America have changed their names. The NCAA has implemented policy to change those names. Why has the NFL shuffled its feet on this? I don’t know, but it’s time to change.”