Remember #RedskinsPride? That Twitter campaign the team to started after 50 Democratic senators criticized its name? The one that completely backfired?
Well, a trio of Virginia lawmakers don’t seem to mind the intense backlash the hashtag received, and are using it to label their support for the team, Washingtonian magazine reports. State Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City and Dels. Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, and David Ramadan, R-Loudoun, announced on Monday the creation of the Redskins Pride Caucus.
According to a press release, the bipartisan group wants to provide “a voice for Redskins fans,” support a “business that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxable revenue,” and fight back against “the inappropriate involvement of the United States Congress.” The team’s headquarters are located in Virginia.
The creation of the caucus comes after last week’s decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel federal trademark registrations for the team’s name, calling it “disparaging to Native Americans.” The team said that it is “confident we will prevail once again,” referring to a similar ban in the 1990s that was appealed by the team and eventually overturned by a federal court in 2003. And the Redskins Pride Caucus will be there to defend the name.
In a post on his blog on Thursday, Petersen likened the decision by the trademark office to something out of George Orwell’s 1984. He wrote:
All that matters is achieving the result which validates the grievance. Is someone offended by your brand name or logo? Then change it. (Braves and Indians, you’re coming next). Did you spend eighty years building that brand into one of the most recognized in the world? Tough luck. Some dweeb at the PTO can revoke it at will.
The federal government, Petersen says, is wading too far into the debate:
As in all cases involving political correctness, those of us on the “wrong side” of the War Against the Redskins (“the WAR”) are constantly told our defeat is inevitable. We are now facing the righteous might of the Federal government, as well as every reputable journalist and media source in America, which has attached itself to the cause du jour.
The small group of state lawmakers are not in an easy spot. They may have Washington’s team on their side, but they’re up against the U.S. Senate majority leader, half of his colleagues, growing protesters, Native American groups, and a whole lot of people on Twitter.