FCC May Issue Fines for Use of the Word ‘Redskins’

Oct 1, 2014  •  Post A Comment

The Federal Communications Commission may begin fining broadcasters who use the term “Redskins” on-air, amid controversy over the name of the Washington NFL team and complaints that the term is offensive to Native Americans. Reuters reports that the agency is considering implementing the fines.

The story reports: “The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name ‘Redskins.’”

The petition says the term is “akin to broadcasting obscenity.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters that the agency will be “looking at that petition; we will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we’ll be responding accordingly.”

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

If the FCC formally considers the name to be indecent, a ban would be effectively imposed on TV and radio, the story notes.

The Reuters report notes: “Some TV football analysts, including CBS’s Phil Simms and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, have said they will no longer use the term Redskins. On the other side, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, a Hall of Famer, says the issue is ‘so stupid it’s appalling.'”

redskins logo


  1. The FCC has no authority to time travel and pick out a term that is no longer politically correct and ban it. It is a total abuse of power and authority.

  2. Let’s hope grocers who advertise only sell russets and alaskan gold potatoes.

  3. Two words: Coach Ditka.

  4. Dear FCC:

    Well, I for one am very happy to hear this. I NEED to live in a society that will shelter me from such racist names. I need to be insulated from this atrocious use of a name of a company based on the race and color of one’s skin. Just gross. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Okay, FFC… next up… time to ban the Black Entertainment Network. Thanks, because I can no longer hearing that racist use of the color of one’s skin to describe a company. Many thanks.

    Mr. Wonderful

  5. Go Ditka! Wheeler has his head up his rear on this one.

  6. The FCC has no authority whatsoever to issue fines for the use of words that some may regard as politically incorrect but are not obscene or indecent, as the FCC has defined those terms in the past. Period. It’s as simple of that regardless of Wheeler’s self aggrandizing pomposity.

  7. Should be intersting to see them drop the hammer on every TV station that dares to show an old western from here on out.

  8. If something said by a Minority offended the MAJORITY, the Minority would reply by saying “We have a constitutional right to do what we do. HOLY HYPOCRISY BATMAN!!!

  9. Reading between the lines of this article, all the FCC is promising to do is to look at this petition. But the likelihood that the FCC’s action will be anything other than dismissing the petition without action is pretty much zero. The FCC does not have the authority to take action against “offensive” speech, but only against “indecent” speech — and while the team’s name is offensive by today’s standards, it is not indecent.

    And that’s as it should be — while I personally think it is long past time for this team to change it’s name, the fact is that is a decision for the league and the team, not for the FCC or any other federal agency.

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