October 10, 2013

Dana Milbank, in his Oct. 8 Washington Forum column, “Tackling the offensive,” criticized me for arguing that the Washington Redskins’ 80-year-old name should not be changed, that the team’s fans don’t intend the team name to be racially disparaging and that the 2004 Annenberg Institute Poll showed that, in a large, national sample of Native Americans, nine out of 10were not offended by the team name “Washington Redskins.”

Mr. Milbank also stated that I “represent[ed] Third World dictators,” omitting that my contract with the government of Equatorial Guinea, filed with the U.S. Justice Department, stated that my purpose was to help implement a “comprehensive program” of “political, legal, and economic reform.”

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in a public August 2010 letter to the president of Equatorial Guinea that he was “encouraged and impressed” by a speech the president gave at a Global Media Forum in South Africa. I drafted virtually all of that speech, and Archbishop Tutu thanked me for it at the forum.

In a second instance, I attempted to prevent bloodshed after an election in Ivory Coast by trying to facilitate, at the request of the State Department, a telephone call from President Obama to the defeated presidential candidate — actions praised by a State Department spokesman in a public statement.

These facts were easily available to Mr. Milbank, had he cared to provide the full story, but he appeared to be more interested in a gratuitous cheap shot than in fairness.

Lanny J. Davis, Washington

The writer represents the Washington Redskins.