When it comes to attempts to defend the team name backfiring embarrassingly, Washington remains undefeated. Ben Tribbett, a left-leaning political blogger recently hired to "help the team promote a tradition that means so much to so many people," has announced his intention to resign.
Tribbett and the Skins did seem like a particularly bizarre fit, not just for his politics (though, yes, the controversy has become inflexibly politicized) but for the fact that Tribbett first made his name by identifying a racial slur where others didn't notice.
In 2006, Tribbett obtained and publicized a tape of Virginia Senator George Allen calling an Indian-American man a "macaca," an outdated slur for dark-skinned people. It led to a narrow defeat for Allen, the brother of Washington GM Bruce Allen. In researching the provenance of "macaca," Tribbett cited a list of ethnic slurs that also happened to include the word "redskin."
More recently, ICTMN dug up some of Tribbett's tweets from a Las Vegas card game in 2010 in which he went for some really cheap jokes about a Native American player next to him. That's likely the "personal attack" Tribbett cited in announcing his resignation. That, and "things got a little out of control on Twitter," as he told the Washington Post.
Tribbett says he still supports the team name—something he did even before they hired him. From an Oct. 7, 2013, Facebook post:
I'm going to weigh in here on the Redskins name. The team started in Boston as the Boston Braves, later the Boston Redskins. Later they moved to Washington. The name is a *tribute* to the people from the Boston Tea Party that dressed as Indians to dump the tea in the harbor and start the American Revolution. The team name was kept when they moved to Washington because of the importance the Boston Tea Party has to our national history and because of that was deemed an appropriate name for a team in the nation's capital. Before you say the team name is a "slur" on anyone, understand the history please.
The Boston Tea Party association is something not even the team itself has claimed, so if this was a preview of how Tribbett intended to galvanize support for the name, maybe it's a good thing this didn't work out.
I'll never begrudge a blogger who manages to get paid, but as a terrible fit for Tribbett and as a perceived desperation move by Washington, this was doomed to end just as it did: with each side coming out looking worse than it did going in.