On the same day Virginia-based liberal blogger Ben Tribbett announced his surprise resignation from the Washington Redskins’ public relations campaign, a website unearthed some of his derogatory tweets aimed at a Native American.
Without delving into detail, Tribbett indicated Monday that he had brought unnecessary baggage to the team, which hired him only two weeks ago to help stave off criticism of its racially charged moniker.
“I don’t want to be a distraction to the team as the political attacks have shifted towards being personal towards me,” he wrote in one of the tweets announcing his resignation.
Hours earlier, it was Tribbett’s Twitter activity from 2010 that had drawn some attention.
An article published Monday on Indian Country Today Media Network highlighted a trio of still-active tweets in which Tribbett described his interactions with an “older native american guy.” According to ICTMN, Tribbett sent the tweets “from a gambling table in a Las Vegas casino.”
“An older native american guy just accused me of cheating and pulled some stuff out of his pocket to put some kind of spell on me,” he wrote in one. “Epic.”
In another tweet, Tribbett bragged that he “took Chief for his last 300.”
“I’d call it a scalping but that seems uncalled for,” he added.
Tribbett, a lifelong Redskins fan who’s been active in Democratic politics in the commonwealth, was presumably hired by the team to stymie the criticism directed at the moniker, most of which has come from the left.
“It is an honor to help the team promote a tradition that means so much to so many people,” Tribbett said after he was hired.
In an interview with a Washington, D.C. sports radio show, he characterized the criticism of the team’s name as “mostly sort of a PC campaign.” Tribbett told Buzzfeed that the Redskins name is “something that’s been around in our lexicon for, you know, 70 years, and it’s primarily as a football thing.”
“The only people who get called Redskins are football players,” he said.
His vigorous defense of the moniker was unusual for another reason. In 2006, it was Tribbett, then an anonymous blogger writing at the site “Not Larry Sabato,” who broke the story of a racial gaffe that helped sink former Sen. George Allen’s (R-VA) re-election campaign.
Tribbett not only assailed Allen for referring to a Democratic tracker of Indian descent as “macaca,” but he also fiercely rebutted the notion that the term isn’t offensive.
“Racial slurs are not funny things to joke about,” he wrote in a now-archived post in August of 2006.
Tribbett shuttered his blog after he was hired by the Redskins. He did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.