By Erik Brady and Nina Mandell
On Thursday, the team sent a request to fans to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nev.) “to show your #RedskinsPride and tell him what the team means to you.”
What happened next may have been an obvious reaction to anyone who has been following the controversy, but likely not what the Redskins were hoping for. Rather than tweeting their support, fans—and likely those who aren’t—tweeted their outrage over the name and the team’s continued commitment to keeping it.
“Twitter, and social media in general, is a wonderful medium because it gives voice to so many people,” Faiz Shakir, Reid’s digital director wrote to USA TODAY Sports in an email. “What we saw in the immediate aftermath of the tweet was a collective, overwhelming outpouring that was heavily critical of the Washington football team. It was an utter failure for them, and I hope it causes the organization to reflect on why that occurred.”
• Twitter hashtag provokes scorn and derision
• Office of Senator Harry Reid: 'It's really made our day'
By Martin Pengelly
By the afternoon, the #RedskinsPride hashtag had duly achieved trending status.
Some tweets were supportive.
The majority, however, did not use the hashtag in the manner intended by the team.
By Barry Petchesky
"The Skins tried to engage folks, and it has failed miserably," Faiz Shakir, Reid's digital director, told us. In the minutes after the Skins' tweet, Shakir said "we haven't found more than one or two that are actually supportive."
Redskins troll Harry Reid
Click the links to read all the amusing tweets.
More oppose "Redskins"
Unlike the Navajo codetalkers, one tribal leader was smart enough to avoid being made a shill for the team:
Tribal leader turns down Redskins' invite
By Erik Brady
Chairman Joseph Holley of the Battle Mountain Band of Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians told NCAI he declined.
Team spokesman Tony Wyllie told USA TODAY Sports that Snyder was out of the country this week and next and there was not another team media event until Wednesday. He did not say if that event would include tribal leaders.
"Someone working for the team called me out of the blue to invite me to a meeting in D.C. with the team and its owners and wanted to know what I thought of the team name," Holley said in an NCAI statement released to USA TODAY Sports. "They did not tell me what the meeting was about, what I would be doing or who else was invited and wanted my answer in just a few hours. My answer was no. I've got responsibilities to my community and members here at home and can't be running off to D.C. at a moment's notice to meet with a football team to do who knows what."
Former Redskins lineman Mark Schlereth: ‘It is time to change the name’
By Dan Steinberg
“There’s no question, if you research the history of that name, it’s a pejorative term and it needs to change,” said Schlereth, a former Pro Bowler who played in Washington from 1989 to 1994 before moving on to Denver and then to a career in broadcasting. “I mean, you would never 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 school 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.”
By Mark Maske
Smith, in a written statement issued to The Washington Post by the players’ union in response to a letter sent by Native American groups to all NFL players asking them to support a name change by the team, stopped short of pledging any direct action by players or the union, saying his conversations on the matter with the Redskins and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should remain private.
“I have conveyed my thoughts on this issue both to Roger and to the team,” Smith said. “They understand our position and I believe that those conversations are most effective when they can remain private. As I have stated publicly, though, I do not believe anyone should inflict pain, embarrass or insult, especially given the racial insensitivity of the term ‘Redskin.’ As you know, I grew up here and like all Washingtonians I became a fan of this team. The beauty of sports and of the Washington football franchise is that it will always have the ability to bring this community together, regardless of what decision is made about the team name.”