The Washington Redskins have hired longtime Virginia politico and liberal blogger Ben Tribbett to help guide the team's battle over their controversial nickname.
Tribbett, 34, is a native Northern Virginian and lifelong Redskins fan. He was a regular defender of the team's nickname long before the team recruited him to help aid their efforts to defend them.
(Tribbett (left) with Redskin Alfred Morris and Petersen)
"I have been a Redskins fan my entire life," said Tribbett. "It is an honor to help the team promote a tradition that means so much to so many people."
Tribbett got his start in Democratic politics by working on the campaign of Sen. Chap Petersen (D) in his first run for the House of Delegates. Tribbett remains close with Petersen, who is also a vocal supporter of the Redskins nickname.
Tribbett also worked for former Lt. Gov turned Ambassador Don Beyer (D) who is about to be elected to Congress. He is perhaps best known for his popular and often controversial political blog, Not Larry Sabato, which regularly broke big political stories. Not Larry Sabato was the first place where George Allen's infamous "macacca" gaffe was reported.
Tribbett shut down his blog last night.
(In full disclosure, Tribbett has also served as an election night analyst for NBC12)
You have already seen Tribbett's handiwork. He helped to organize the the "Redskins Pride" caucus in the Virginia General Assembly. The group currently has 28 members of the Virginia General Assembly, including Tommy Norment (R), the Majority Leader in the Senate, Dick Saslaw (D), the Minority Leader in the Senate, and House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R).
Tribbett's hiring is more evidence of owner Daniel Snyder's effort to hold back the onslaught of political pressure that is growing around the nickname. The majority of the pressure is coming from the left. Fifty Democratic members of the U.S. Senate wrote a letter to Snyder requesting he change the name. That included both members of the U.S. Senate from Maryland. The Redskins stadium, FedEx Field is located in Landover, MD.
Virginia has made an increased effort to woo the Redskins to the Commonwealth. Former Governor Bob McDonnell (R) helped broker a deal to bring the team's training camp to Richmond and expand its headquarters in Northern Virginia. The team is far and away the most popular sports franchise in Virginia. Especially without competition from any other professional franchises like Maryland has in Baltimore.
Both Democratic Senators from Virginia refused to sign on to the letter to Snyder. Sen. Tim Kaine however has separately said that he believes the team's name should be changed. Sen. Mark Warner's position is not clear.
Tribbett is a known progressive figure in Virginia who is in passionate support of defending the nickname. He brings deep political ties to the conversation and has a unique knack for understanding the changing political winds in the State Capitol.
It shows that Snyder is continuing to bare down in a fight that doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.