NASHVILLE, TN–Rien Vartan Long, the Armenian American defensive lineman who wore number 99 for the Tennessee Titans from 2003 to 2007, is almost at full strength since a near-fatal car accident in January and is endorsing Nikki Tinker for Congress in Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District, a seat currently held by Steve Cohen.
Tinker is mounting a strong challenge to the first-term Congressman, who has made a name for himself in Congress by actively denying the Armenian Genocide, the murder of 1.5 million Armenian Christians early in the 20th century.
"I am proud to be endorsing Nikki and hope she wins her August 7th primary race," remarked Rien Long, whose 27th birthday just happens to be the day of the election.
"I believe Nikki will bring the energy, intellect and integrity the people of Tennessee’s Ninth Congressional District need and deserve. I also believe that people like Steve Cohen, who are playing an active role in blocking legislation in Congress that would mark the first genocide of the 20th century (Armenian Genocide), have no place in Congress." Nikki Tinker, like Barack Obama, supports the legislation.
"Sadly, Cohen is an apologist for the Turkish government, which has never admitted to genocide," Long added.
"My family has been in America for nearly 100 years, because one of my great-grandfathers escaped the genocide of the Christian minority of Turkey. Many of his nieces and nephews were not as lucky."
Long was the subject of a documentary film in 2006, "The Long Journey from the NFL to Armenia," which chronicled a visit he made to his ancestral homeland.
"During my trip, I stood just a few miles from the Turkish border and over that border stood Mt. Ararat, where the Bible says Noah’s Ark landed in Armenia. That mountain is now in Turkey, which just adds to the disappointment I have in a person like Congressman Cohen, who does favors for the foreign government of Turkey, which spends millions of Turkish tax dollars every year to lobby jaded politicians against Armenian Genocide recognition," Long added.
"I know Nikki Tinker will not be a lapdog for the Turks like Steve Cohen, who encourages genocide denial, by fighting congressional recognition," Long concluded.
Long won college football’s Outland Trophy in 2003, which is awarded to the best interior lineman. He was then picked in the fourth round of the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans and has made Tennessee his home ever since.
Late in the evening on this year’s Martin Luther King holiday, Long was behind the wheel during a one-car accident in Nashville. He was initially listed in critical condition, but has since made a miraculous recovery. He is in Nashville right now attempting to make an NFL comeback by as early as this season.
The ANC-PAC is a non-partisan federally registered political action committee established to support campaign committees for Members of Congress who share the values of the Armenian American community. The ANC-PAC is at the forefront of efforts to ensure that the voice of the Armenian American community is clearly heard in our nation’s capital. The ANC-PAC continues a century old tradition of Armenian Americans engagement on the public policy issues facing national political leaders, both in the U.S. Congress and the White House. For more information, you may logon to www.ancpac.org.