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.'”