Over the past several months controversy has surrounded the Washington Redskins for the use of the teams nickname, which many consider to be an offensive moniker given to Native Americans. There have been many protests and petitions to change the name, but as of yet neither the NFL nor the Washington Redskins’ team owner Dan Snyder have shown any indications that the name will be changed.
However, due to this past week’s murmurings from the Federal Communications Commission, the pressure to change the name may be too much to ignore. Following the FCC’s receipt of a petition from John Banzhaf III, consisting of thousands of signatures demanding that the commission strip a local radio station of its broadcasting license for using the slur, their chairman Tom Wheeler announced that they are “looking at that petition; we will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we’ll be responding accordingly” and that “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.”
What this means is that if the FCC decides that the name “Redskins” is indeed indecent, then any TV or Radio station that uses the team name will be fined. It is unknown as of this point what the fine would be or if the fine will even be placed.
It does appear that recent actions to attempt to get the name changed are not simply going to go away, as the news has made its rounds across several news networks and even “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart and “The Colbert Report’s” Stephen Colbert put in their two cents on the issue calling for the name to be changed.
Perhaps the most surprising, yet surprisingly poignant critique of Snyder and the Washington organization came from another Comedy Central staple, “South Park.” In an episode that openly desecrates the organization, as well as the NFL as a whole, for allowing the name to continuously be used.
So with the national media coverage, the public statement from President Barack Obama that he would change the name and now perhaps the FCC fines for using the name across radio and television, pressure is mounting on Dan Snyder, The Washington Redskins, and the NFL as a whole to take a look and seriously consider the change before public outcry and monetary sanctions begin to do more damage to a league that has already been marred by much ridicule and legal proceedings following the cases of domestic violence earlier in the year.