The political blogger to whom Washington owner Daniel Snyder is paying enough money to get the political blogger to shut down his political blog apparently won’t be pulling strings exclusively in the background. On Monday, 34-year-old Ben Tribbett appeared on 106.7 The Fan in D.C. with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
Tribbett called the effort to change the name “mostly a PC campaign.” It’s a predictable, dismissive gesture that ignores both the growing number of Native Americans who find the name offensive and the dictionary definition of the term as a slur.
While Tribbett explains that his involvement reflects the team’s decision to acknowledge the political nature of the issue, the truth is that Tribbett’s arrival represents the latest attempt by the team to find an effective way to shape public, and in turn political, opinion on the matter. Prior efforts served not only to prevent the debate from intensifying but also, in some respects, encouraged the debate by legitimizing and motivating the opposition.
Tribbett’s approach apparently will be to focus attention on a fan base that doesn’t want the name to change. It makes sense, since zealous fans of the team are the most likely to treat the name of the team as a word that means “the football team I love,” and nothing more.
It also makes sense to attribute the opposition to ‘political correctness,” since that’s the best way to keep those who support the name riled up about the issue. Like the name of the team, the phrase “political correctness” has a meaning apart from the words used for many who want to resist change.
Specifically, the phrase includes the word “correctness.” Which is a fancy way of saying “correct.” Which is another way of saying “right.” Which ultimately reflects a desire to do the right thing.
In this case, any actual or perceived “political correctness” potentially overlaps with good, old-fashioned “correctness.” Especially when the National Congress of American Indians has commissioned a commercial that makes clear to anyone paying attention that the body representing all Native Americans wants the name to change.
The best evidence that the National Congress of American Indians speaks authoritatively for Native Americans comes from the fact that neither the team nor Tribbett have attacked the NCAI as being corrupt or illegitimate or agenda-driven. If an attack on the credibility of the NCAI could be launched by the team, it would be — like it was with Ray Halbritter of Oneida Indian Nation.
It hasn’t happened with the NCAI, which means that the political attack orchestrated by the former political blogger will focus instead on political terms like “political correctness,” ignoring the question of whether stubbornly keeping the name meshes with the fundamental concept of “correctness.”