Here is a little-known fact about the Spokane Shock: Their playing field has a name. That name honors one of their major sponsors.
The name is Spokane Tribe Field, and the Spokane Tribal leadership is not pleased that the Shock have invited Dino Rossi, the Republican challenger to U.S. Senator Patty Murray, to take the field as honorary captain for tonight's sold-out ArenaBowl game against the Tampa Bay Storm.
In addition to an inappropriate mixing of politics and sports, the Tribe says in a press release this afternoon that Rossi has been particularly unfriendly to Indian Country issues. Two years ago, during his second failed run against Gov. Christine Gregoire, Rossi said the Spokane and other Washington tribes "laundered" casino money by contributing to Gregoire. The Rossi campaign ran attack ads on the issue all fall in 2008, calling the money "a payoff" and a "quid pro quo."
The Spokane Tribe had fought for years to get a compact allowing tribal gaming and were plenty steamed at the inaccurate attack ads. Even now, they don't want "honorary captain" Rossi to be tromping on their logo on Spokane Tribe Field while blowing his own political horn. (Although tonight, Rossi will have to compete with vuvuzelas.)
Tribal leadership has spoken with Shock owner Brady Nelson about their displeasure, Bloglander is told.
Rossi appeared at a Shock game in 2008, Spokane Tribe spokeswoman Jamie Sijohn remembers. "He didn't get a good reception. A lot of people were yelling at him to get off the field."
Nelson, who tells Bloglander that he is friends with Rossi and doesn't know what the big deal is, has already drawn the ire of Spokane County Democrats, who blew their gaskets yesterday.
Asked if he ever considered inviting Murray, Nelson says, "No."
Read a story about the 2008 attack ads here.
Our previous coverage of the Rossi visit tonight: Arena Bowl Rowndup: Are Shock Pulling for Rossi?