FCC dismisses petition attacking Washington name

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The FCC has decided to let Daniel Snyder be.

Via the Washington Post, the agency responsible for regulating the public airwaves has dismissed a petition against one of the radio stations owned by the owner of the Washington franchise based on the frequent use by said station of the team’s nickname.

“Licensees have broad discretion — based on their right to free speech — to choose, in good faith, the programming they believe serves the needs and interests of their communities,” the FCC concluded.  “This holds true even if the material broadcast is insulting to a particular minority or ethnic group in a station’s community.”

An attorney for the station predictably crowed about the outcome.

“The FCC’s written opinion makes crystal clear that use of the word Redskins on the airwaves does not violate any FCC rules, is not obscenity, profanity, or hate speech and is fully protected by the First Amendment,” Andrew McBride said, via the Post.

The conclusion hardly ends the simmering debate regarding whether the name should be changed.  While dormant for much of the 2014 regular season, the debate will linger until the name changes — and it will linger for years after the name changes.

In some respects, the team’s struggles (and other significant off-field issues for the NFL) have helped keep the debate out of the spotlight.  If/when (if) the team ever becomes a contender that plays deep into January and/or into the first Sunday in February, the debate will perhaps reach critical mass.

Until then, the periodic legal attacks on the name will continue.  Thursday’s ruling means only that the FCC won’t provide the silver bullet.  Another legal strategy, like the pending attack on the team’s trademark rights, could.  Even without the law forcing change, change could come from business realities or internal pressure from other NFL owners.So, for now, the American government hasn’t deemed the term to be offensive.  Fortunately for Snyder, the North Korean government hasn’t, either.

34 responses to “FCC dismisses petition attacking Washington name

  1. The “simmering” “debate” will “pick up” again in the offseason when there’s little else for certain sports “writers” to talk about. Although, it’s not an election year, so I wouldn’t count on any “action” from the legislature to fuel the “fire.”

  2. And sanity once again reigns. Redskins loud and proud!

    By the way I’m not a Redskins fan but I am fan common sense and government staying out of this.

  3. VICTORY! This is great news. Just as it appears this country is heading in the crapper, appealing to every single complaint whenever a small fraction of the population is offended, we get this. Now, it would be fantastic if this site would drop their protest against the name since it has now been deemed unoffensive. Sanity has finally prevalied in an insane world.

  4. “The conclusion hardly ends the simmering debate regarding whether the name should be changed.”

    The “simmering debate” by all 15% of the people polled that believe Redskins in a racist term……..LOL

  5. Redskins! Redskins!! Redskins!!!

    And I can’t stand the Redskins! But, not because of their nickname.

    The political correctness mania in this country has gotten out of control.

  6. Finally, someone with a little common sense speaks out.

    If the word REDSKINS was so offensive, there would have been an outcry umpteen years ago, BEFORE the various Indian tribes became rich from casino money.

    Someone has them convinced they can win this fight and those people are the only one benefiting from all this. That casino money is going into their pockets!

    Keep the name REDSKINS and never cave to pressure!!! Just look at the backlash Sony is going thru now…..

  7. Agree or disagree that the name should change, the FCC staying out of it is the right call.

    And kind of strange to be honest. FCC has had a history of meddling where it doesn’t belong, so it is refreshing to see this.

  8. Not a fan of the Redskins or the NFC East but I’m glad to see that political correctness loss out to common sense. If the name offends you just don’t buy any of their merchandise, don’t watch any of their games or go to their stadium, and finally stop clicking on articles about them. You just make yourself look like a crybaby when you come and complain about something that has been the same since the 1930’s I believe.

  9. This will pop back up during the slow news weeks after the season. Really though the FCC says they have the right to use the name for broadcasts so when does King and Florio begin using it again?

  10. That is absolutely the correct legal conclusion, and the government should stay out of it. However, no reasonable, intelligent, non-biased person can look at that name and not come to the conclusion that it’s racially offensive.

  11. Clearly the right call. The government should not be inserting itself into this debate; let the people decide (and they actually have already). The Redskins are a business as much as they are a football team, and like any other business, their continued existence relies on the patronage of a supportive public. If the public has issues with the name, then they will vote with their wallets, stop supporting the business, and the business will ceast to exist. If, however, the public continues to support the business, then the business will continue to flourish. Unless the Redskins start breaking the law, then the government needs to stay out of their business.

  12. Not a “Political Year” for any Senator or Congress member. You mean the same one’s who lost their Senate seat or Congress seat last month?? The same one’s who signed the Democrat Senate petition earlier this year? THOSE same people lost!!

    Just like they lost here… PC POLICE can go home now. Another useless, waste of time, act that went nowhere.

    Hail to the Redskins… FOREVER.

  13. “This holds true even if the material broadcast is insulting to a particular minority or ethnic group in a station’s community.”

    Whatever your take on the matter is, to state this action proves the name is inoffensive is rather disingenuous.

  14. I could care less about the Redskins name. Seriously, if they change it, I won’t lose any sleep and if they keep it, then that’s fine too.

    The thing I don’t like about this, is when people like Jon Stewart try to bring Native Americans in to “talk to” (intimidate) Redskins fans. They’re fans of a team, not a “racist slur”, but the PC police will have you believe that they are two in the same.

  15. “based on the frequent use by said station of the team’s nickname.”
    Redskins isn’t the teams NICKNAME, it’s the actual team name. Forty Whiners, Seatterall, Beaterson, those are nicknames. If Redskins is their nickname, then what is their real name?

  16. Whatever your thoughts on the Redskins “controversy”, I would hope that most of us could agree that federal agencies have bigger fish to fry than a team’s mascot.

    This will pick up steam in the post-draft NFL dead zone, but for now you can kiss the firestorm goodbye. Sorry, Florio.

  17. What do you expect the fact to do. They allow a tv station to be called black entertainment tv(calling African Americans black is supposed to be racist) that features shows and songs that frequently use the word often refurred to the worst word in American history, which starts with an n. If that’s allowed on tv, why wouldn’t a team are that’s been accepted forever and is debated weather it’s offensive or not to this day, not deemed offensive by all?

  18. The said attorney crowed about the outcome of this decision just as the author of this article would have done if the decision would’ve been the opposite. Just as he has done against the Redskins Football Teams name in the past. You can’t cave to PC bullies or the North Korean A-Hole.

  19. Hail to the Redskins!

    Hail Victory!

    Braves on the Warpath!

    Fight for old D.C.!

    Run or pass and score — We want a lot more!

    Beat ’em, Swamp ’em,

    Touchdown! — Let the points soar!

    Fight on, fight on ‘Til you have won

    Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

    Hail to the Redskins!

    Hail Victory!

    Braves on the Warpath!

    Fight for old D.C.!

  20. Here let me say the said name of the Washington professional football team for you, REDSKINS! If you have nothing better to do in your day than attack other people for using words then you need to find some hobbies. There are actual terrible things that happen in your communities but what someone says or what some rich guy names a sports team is what gets you all huffy and puffy?

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