Who needs expensive lobbyists when you have a rabid fan base who will do it for free?
With the D.C. City Council poised to re-issue a 12-year-old resolution urging the Washington Redskins to change their name, the Redskins have mobilized fans to contact D.C. City Council to share their views.
Via Mike Debonis of the Washington Post, an email sent Monday from the team urges fans living in D.C. to contact lawmakers and explain the support for the name.
“On Tuesday, the DC City Council will be discussing the Redskins name,” the team said in the email. “As a resident of DC and a constituent, we encourage you to share with your DC City Councilmembers what #RedskinsPride means to you, your family and friends. Let the DC City Council hear from you directly: call, fax, email, or tweet your opinion directly to the councilmembers. Please forward this to other DC Redskins fans so that they can have their voices heard as well.”
The email points out that the D.C. City Council has no authority to force a name change. Still, the Redskins apparently believe it makes sense to try to block the non-binding effort, even though D.C. City Council passed the same resolution in 2001.
The fact that the Redskins saw fit to engage the opponents of the name in this specific setting suggests that the team is becoming concerned about the ongoing opposition to the name — and about the potential resolution urging the team to change the name.
There’s another more subtle problem with the team’s effort to lobby members of D.C. City Council. Asking the fans to contact their lawmakers necessarily give credence to what those lawmakers decide to do. Instead of ignoring a body that has no jurisdiction over the matter, the Redskins are giving that body credibility by playing the normal political game of asking supporters to voice said support.
As a practical matter, it then becomes harder in the aftermath of the resolution that the Redskins tried unsuccessfully to influence for the team to say, “We don’t care what they say about it.”
Obviously, the team does.