FCC Might Ban the Word 'Redskins' from TV and Radio

Illustration for article titled FCC Might Ban the Word 'Redskins' from TV and Radio

After receiving a petition, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) are considering banning the racial slur — and Washington D.C. pro football team name — "Redskins" from television and radio broadcasts.


"We'll be looking at that petition, we will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we'll be responding accordingly," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, referring to the petition submitted by legal activist John Banzhaf III that requested a local D.C. radio station lose its broadcasting license for its repeat use of the slur.

"There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today," Wheeler continued. "And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those."

If the ban is enacted, TV and radio stations that choose to use the word "Redskins" on air would face heavy fines and the possibility of losing their broadcasting license.

Elsewhere, famous Native American novelist Louise Erdrich — also a hardcore sports fan — was asked by Intelligencer about the Washington team name.

"[Redskin is] more than a stereotype, it's an insult, and they don't have to perpetuate it," she replied. "By doing it, they're beginning to look more and more backward and their regard is going to fall. They could do so much in terms of leadership and in terms of gaining respect for doing the right thing by simply changing their logo."

"I think sports fans should say no," she concluded. "And they should say no with their bucks, and they should write their letters. You know how much a written letter sent through the post means now? It means a lot. Nobody does it anymore. So get out your pens and pencils, buy a stamp and an envelope, and write a letter."


Image via Getty.



I think the FCC's heart is in the right place, but this isn't going to change the name. All this is going to do is punish stations who are reporting on the team and force them to come up with some alternative. That seems rather punitive against the wrong people. If the FCC had any balls they were refuse to let the team's games air unless the name was changed.