News & Politics

“#RedskinsPride” Twitter Campaign Backfires Horribly on Team

The Redskins failed at the internet.

Photograph by .

Washington’s NFL franchise, egged on by a letter sent last week by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and nearly all of his Democratic colleagues criticizing the racial slur the team uses as its name, attempted Thursday afternoon to turn the conversation around and ask its fans defend the name.

“Please show Senator Reid your #RedskinsPride and tell him what the team means to you,” the team wrote in an e-mail to fans.

It didn’t go so well. In the grand tradition of large, controversial organizations having hashtags backfire on them (see the New York Police Department’s recent #MyNYPD fiasco), #RedskinsPride was quickly overtaken by Twitter users calling out the team for the derogatory nature of its name.

Lost amid the critical entries were plenty of laudatory tweets from fans saying they love their favorite team’s name. But Reid’s office, which had gotten a formal reply to his letter last weekend from newly minted team president Bruce Allen, enjoyed Snyder’s hashtag fail.

“The Washington football team had a disastrous and tone-deaf PR effort yesterday,” Faiz Shakir, Reid’s digital director, writes in an e-mail to Washingtonian. “The hashtag was trending nationally, and we engaged lots of people into the debate. The replies on our Twitter feed were overwhelmingly in opposition to the team.”

Possibly unrelated: the team’s job board has a current posting for a social media intern.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.