The attack on the Redskins’ name continues in Washington.
According to Politico.com, three former FCC Commissioners (along with others) have sent a letter to Redskins owner Daniel Snyder explaining that a case could be made that the team’s name is indecent.
“It is impermissible under law that the FCC would condone, or that broadcasters would use, obscene pornographic language on live television,” states the letter signed in part by former FCC Chairman Reed Hunt and former Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Nicholas Johnson. “This medium uses government-owned airwaves in exchange for an understanding that it will promote the public interest. Similarly, it is inappropriate for broadcasters to use racial epithets as part of normal, everyday reporting.”
The letter never uses the term “Redskins.”
“XXXskin is the most derogatory name a Native American can be called. It is an unequivocal racial slur,” the letter states. “As the Washington Post’s Mike Wise pointed out, ‘America wouldn’t stand for a team called the Blackskins — or the Mandingos, the Brothers, the Yellowskins, insert your ethnic minority here.’”
The problem with a potential indecency case is that the United States Supreme Court ruled last year that the FCC’s current rules on indecency violate due process by failing to let over-the-air broadcasters know the rules with specificity. The FCC is still trying to determine how to proceed in the wake of that ruling.
The Redskins have shown no inclination to change the team’s name. In recent weeks, they have defended the name by pointing out that 70 high schools use the same name. CNSMaryland.org recently did the legwork, determining that the real number is 62 — and that 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the name over the last 25 years.
The only number that matters for the NFL is one, and the controversy regarding the team’s name likely will continue for as long as the name remains in place.