The Washington NFL franchise launched last week via Twitter an effort to shout down Senator Harry Reid and anyone else actively opposing the team’s name. It didn’t go well.
That hasn’t stopped the Washington NFL franchise from declaring victory.
“The social media is the way people get information now, and our fans have spoken very loudly in support of what we’ve been doing,” team president and G.M. Bruce Allen told Jason Reid of the Washington Post. “We got a very good response from our fans.
“Thousands of our fans responded, including hundreds of Native Americans, saying we are their favorite team. I do think that’s the message we’ve been hearing.”
If that’s the only message they’ve been hearing, it means they’re only listening to what they want to hear. Opposition to the name exists, and it seems to be growing, and galvanizing. While it’s possible to cherry pick through last week’s hashtag misadventure to find messages supporting the team’s position on its name, it would have been impossible to not notice the countless responses that chided the team for its stubborn insistence that a name coined 80 years ago hasn’t fallen victim to changing times and modified attitudes regarding acceptable language use.
The team’s decision to engage the opposition and to warp reality regarding the issue won’t make the controversy go away. It will remain until the name changes, and when the name changes it’s safe to say that the team will find a way to claim that, in the end, the team somehow won the fight.