Redskins Hire Veteran Political Advisors to Handle Name Crisis

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsSpeaking of football, what about those Washington Redskins?!?!

You almost certainly missed this Friday dump last week, but after initially denying rumors published by left-leaning blog ThinkProgress, a Redskins spokesperson confirmed that the team has hired a crew of veteran political communicators to help deal with the ongoing controversy over its name.

All of these advisors have a history of working with Republican Party candidates and officials on messaging/public polling, and each of them now runs his own consulting firm.

Check out the lineup after the jump.

  • Lanny Davis, former advisor to President Bill Clinton turned conservative strategist and best friend to violent African dictators who also worked with Penn State during its most recent crisis
  • Frank Luntz, longtime public polling guru, focus group leader and developer of talking points for GOP candidates
  • Ari Fleischer, press secretary for President George W. Bush
  • George Allen, former governor of Virginia who also served in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives before losing his seat in 2007

We’re not sure what sort of strategy these guys will recommend, but there’s little doubt that the team must now address its critics both inside and outside the Native American community after years of silence—and when it comes to messaging “Our name isn’t racist; some Native Americans love us” probably won’t be good enough.

Given the fact that the damage control letter that owner Dan Snyder recently wrote to fans contained several dubious claims and that the team’s PR squad has a habit of doing less-than-brilliant things like snatching microphones from the hands of pesky journalists, we feel confident in saying that this will be a challenging assignment for Davis, Luntz and company.

Also: in a fascinating Atlantic profile last month, Luntz said that he had lost faith in the public’s ability to be swayed by his messaging efforts. Dan Snyder has to hope he was joking.

[Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images]

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.