Late Monday night, politico Ben Tribbett resigned from his job as a media consultant with the Washington Redskins amid controversy over offensive Tweets he'd written about Native Americans in 2010.
Tribbett, who rose to prominence by derailing Senator George Allen's 2006 re-election campaign over the use of the slur "macaca," had been on the job with the NFL team for two weeks.
Shortly after being hired, Tribbett appeared on a local DC sports radio show, where he said the debate over the team's name was "mostly sort of a PC campaign." He said that he was job was to get the message out that "the fans overwhelmingly support the Redskins," adding that "what the Redskins are doing—it’s not just the team’s position—they’re really supporting what the fans want them to do, which is to keep the name."
It's a curious mission—after all, anyone familiar with the debate is well aware that the majority of fans support the name. The debate isn't over fan support, it's over the nature of the word as a racist slur.
The Oneida Indian Nation and the National Congress of American Indians released a joint statement on Tribbett's departure. "In trying to continue profiting off of a racial slur, Washington team officials have attempted to assemble a political attack machine, but that has only underscored their insensitivity," says the statement. "The only tenable solution for the team is to recognize that the R-word racial epithet is deeply offensive to Native Americans, to quit pretending that this word somehow honors them, and to stop using this slur."
Tribbett announced his resignation via his Twitter feed, @notlarrysabato :