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'Redskins Pride' social media campaign backfires

Thursday, the NFL's Washington Redskins learned the hard way how a social media campaign can backfire.

Last week, 50 Democratic senators sent letters asking the NFL to change the team's name, calling it a "racial slur" against Native Americans. 

In response last Friday, Redskins president Bruce Allen sent a letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the most vocal of the name's opponents, defending the Redskins moniker. 

To back it up, the team launched a Twitter campaign asking fans to share their support using #RedskinsPride on Twitter.

Tweet+@SenatorReid+to+show+your+#RedskinsPride+and+tell+him+what+the+team+means+to+you.

—+Washington+Redskins+(@Redskins)+May+29,+2014+

Early responses were divided between support and opposition, as many Redskins fans jumped on board with the campaign.

@SenatorReid+worry+about+some+real+American+issues+and+struggles+and+let+us+#REDSKINS+alone.!+#HTTR+#RedSkinsPride

—+SweetP..GNATION..+(@SweetnizzP)+May+29,+2014+

#RedskinsPride+if+the+team+is+forced+to+change+their+name+I'll+be+done+with+the+#NFL,+I'm+not+a+big+fan+of+the+ME+culture+already+#HTTR

—+Jonathan+(@2001MUgrad)+May+29,+2014+

However, the campaign began to turn south as the #RedskinsPride hashtag became a breeding ground for jokes at the team's expense and a place for users to express disapproval of the team's name.

I’m+sure+this+will+end+well.+RT+@Redskins:+Tweet+@SenatorReid+to+show+your+#RedskinsPride+and+tell+him+what+the+team+means+to+you.

—+Bryan+Fischer+(@BryanDFischer)+May+29,+2014+

#RedskinsPride+because+keeping+the+tshirt+in+my+closet+accurate+is+much+more+important+than+whole+races+of+people

—+bd+(@IHatebd)+May+29,+2014+

Hey+@Redskins+and+@HarryReid!+To+me+#redskinspride+is+about+normalizing+overt+racism+in+the+21st+century.+Did+I+do+this+right+@Redskins+?

—+Bart+Johnston+(@MBJohnston12)+May+29,+2014+

Giving+smallpox+infected+blankets+to+children+#redskinspride

—+Jason+Bintliff+(@CPTPhiladelphia)+May+29,+2014+

#RedskinsPride+is+the+dumbest+thing+Dan+Snyder+has+ever+done.+The+team+could+not+look+more+tone+deaf+at+this+point.+Time+to+admit+defeat.

—+Chris+Merl+(@ImpeachCerrato)+May+29,+2014+

Celebrating+genocide+and+touchdowns+#redskinspride

—+Crooklyn+Bungler+(@BrooklynJuggler)+May+29,+2014+

So how did Reid's office feel about the backlash to the Redskins' social campaign? His digital director told the Washington Post "It's really made our day."

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