The two NFL franchises located in the vicinity of the nation’s capital may never square off in a Super Bowl, but they’d be the current finalists for a league championship in bad P.R. moves.
For the Ravens, the failures have happened more recently, thanks mostly to Ray Rice. For the Redskins, the problem started the moment the organization decided to actively engage the opponents of the team’s name in early 2013.
Washington may have clinched the title today. Early Thursday afternoon, the team launched an email and Twitter campaign asking fans to tweet at Senator Harry Reid their support of the team name.
“On Friday, Redskins President Bruce Allen set the record straight by responding to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Senators in the letter below,” the team said in an email sent to the team’s newsletter recipients. “We’ve received an enormous amount of requests from fans asking how they can contact Senator Reid. Please show Senator Reid your #RedskinsPride and tell him what the team means to you by contacting him below.”
And so was born the #RedskinsPride effort. And it has gone roughly as well as the recent #AskEmmert and #AskGoodell Twitter campaigns.
Deadspin has a collection of some of the more creative responses. It’s gotten so bad that, as Deadspin points out, Reid’s office has performed a victory lap, claiming that the effort by the team “was so massively a failure.”
Misguided efforts to change the minds of those who oppose the name will serve only to motivate them even more. And yet the misguided efforts have continued by a franchise that seems to believe it will eventually utter the right combination of words to make this all go away, like a wizard conjuring the perfect spell.
At this point, only one combination of words will make this all go away: “We are changing our name.” Until those words are uttered, the opposition will continue to grow and, thanks to the organization’s ongoing P.R. blunders, intensify.