The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has added his formidable voice to the chorus of criticism over the “Redskins” name for Washington’s NFL team. B&C reports that Tom Wheeler said he thinks the name is offensive and should be changed, but he added that public pressure is the best way to get that done.
“Former FCC Chair Reed Hundt, who is leading an effort by former FCC officials and others to get Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the name of the team, had asked FCC commissioners to speak out,” the story reports. “Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has said she knew the name was offensive to a number of people and had concerns herself, but Wheeler had yet to weigh in — the other commissioners have declined comment.”
Wheeler told the publication: “I don’t use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory. I am a Civil War buff, and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren’t appropriate anymore.”
Hundt has expressed the opinion that the term could be determined to be indecent by FCC standards, the report notes.
As we reported earlier this month, a George Washington University law professor, John Banzhaf, has taken the case further, filing a challenge to the license of radio station WWXX-FM Washington (ESPN 980) over its use of the term “Redskins.”
Asked by B&C whether the FCC has a role in bringing about a change on the use of the term, Wheeler said: “I think it would be great if the Washington football team would recognize those kinds of changes itself. I hope that this is something that if enough people express themselves, Dan Snyder can see which way things are going.”
More than 100 groups, including Common Cause and the NAACP, have asked broadcasters to stop using the term, the report notes.