It is an ironic twist in the debate of the Washington Redskins name controversy. Ben Tribbett, the liberal blogger on the job at Redskins park for only 12 days, was forced to resign Monday night after he was attacked online because of questionable tweets he posted several years ago.
It is the same type of tactic Tribbett might use to undo one of his political opponents.
The Native American focused web site "Indian Country Today" discovered a series of three tweets posted by Tribbett in 2010 that show him poking fun at a fellow poker player in Las Vegas. That fellow player happened to be a Native American.
Here are the tweets:
An older native american guy just accused me of cheating and pulled some stuff out of his pocket to put some kind of spell on me. Epic.— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) December 21, 2010
100 into 500. #cursefail http://plixi.com/p/64343315— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) December 21, 2010
Just took Chief for his last 300. I'd call it a scalping but that seems uncalled for.— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) December 21, 2010
The tweets quickly lit a firestorm that added more turbulence to the already bumpy roll out for Tribbett and the Redskins, first broke by Decision Virginia.
Among the national figures who picked up the Tribbett tweets as noted anti-name activist Keith Olberman, who was on vacation from his ESPN2 show, but lit into Tribbett on twitter.
OOPS: Latest guy Dan Snyder hired to defend "Redskins" called "Redskin" a slur AND used slurs against Natives: http://t.co/nyOSC21Z1d— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) July 7, 2014
Tribbett sensing a tide turning against him, offered the Redskins his resignation, which the team accepted.
I don’t want to be a distraction to the team as the political attacks have shifted towards being personal towards me.— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) July 8, 2014
So I’m going to send in my resignation to the Redskins. Hopefully that allows debate to move back to where it should be.— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) July 8, 2014
Of the many interesting things about this development is the way it was discovered. Old tweets only go back to the last three thousand posts. The reporter from Indian Country Today happened to spot the tweets on a screen grab of Tribbett's now defunct blog. The tweets were frozen in time on a scroll on the side of the blog. Similar to the tweet scroll here on Decision Virginia.
Now the Redsksins fight over their name is in yet a new phase, without any clear sense of how they intend to move forward. It seems that their overall approach to the attacks on their nickname lack direction and are easily bumped off course as evidence from the fallout from the errant tweets from Tribbett.
The Upstate New York Oneida Indian Nation argued Tuesday that Tribbett's hiring and subsequent resignation represent the team's lack of understanding as to the country's changing opinion on the name.
"Snyder hired a blogger to defend the name, even though that person previously publicly insulted Native Americans and also admitted the team's name is a racial slur," said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. "The fundamental lesson in each of those humiliating episodes should be obvious: there is simply no way to justify promoting, marketing and profiting off of a dictionary-defined racial slur."
Tribbett continues to believe the name is not offensive and said even though he won't be working for the team, he will still defend their right to use the name Redskins.