Liberal blogger Ben Tribbett tweeted his resignation from the Washington Redskins late Monday night, ending a relationship between the NFL franchise under fire from liberal activist groups trying to get the team to drop its racist name and one of their supposed own.
Tribbett, the author of the Not Larry Sabato blog, which he shut down in a surprise move on June 24, after taking the job with the Redskins, had become the focus of critics after the Indian Country Today Media Network blog wrote about a series of tweets posted by Tribbett in 2010 in which the blogger referred to a fellow player in a Las Vegas card game, a Native American, as “chief,” suggested that the player was trying to put a “spell” on him, and then after winning the hand, suggested that the victory was “a scalping.”
Announcing his resignation on Twitter Monday night, Tribbett said he didn’t “want to be a distraction to the team as the political attacks have shifted towards being personal towards me.”
“Hopefully that allows debate to move back to where it should be,” Tribbett wrote.
That this odd coupling ended the way it did shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody. Tribbett was nothing if not controversial, garnering whatever level of name recognition he can be said to have for his role in publicizing the “macaca” incident that took down sitting U.S. Sen. George Allen, the brother of Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, in 2006.
The team saw Tribbett as a liberal blogger providing political cover given that its critics are on the left, and have been loud. Tribbett, to his credit, has proven adept at being loud himself, his role in the downfall of George Allen, a one-time future presidential fave on the right, as a resume highlight. But the the take-no-prisoners Tribbett had his share of detractors on the left as well, a given in today’s political climate anyway, with the litmus tests on both sides that the activists like to use to define each other. (Tribbett himself could play that game with the best of them.)
There probably was a day and age when a team that refers to itself with a racial slur could hire a liberal writer to help the controversy blow over. But even in that day, you wouldn’t hire one of the more skilled flame-throwers to put out the fire.
– Column by Chris Graham