Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, told Broadcasting & Cable magazine that the Washington Redskins name is “offensive and derogatory.”
"I don't use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory,” he told the magazine. “I am a Civil War buff, and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren't appropriate anymore."
Recently, the renewal of Dan Snyder’s broadcast license was challenged challenged by a former chairman of the FCC, former FCC commissioners, and almost a dozen other broadcasting law experts. Formal legal documents were filed against WWXX-FM for repeatedly broadcasting a word that is deemed a term defined in the dictionary as a racial slur. A determination on the filings has not been announced.
Some broadcasters have already decided to curb their use of the word. ESPN’s Mike Tirico, who is an announcer on Monday Night Football, told CBS that he would try to “minimize” his use of the word. “It’s time for Dan Snyder and the league together [to] truly take a long look at making a change,” he told Richard Deitsch of SI.com.
And Lisa Salters, who announced the team’s preseason game, said that she would refrain from using the name during broadcasts. “My opinion is pretty simple,” she told Deitsch. “I never want to offend anyone with my actions or my words. So if I offend one person with the use of the nickname, I’d rather not use it. For me it’s a pretty simple solution because I’m not talking constantly throughout the game.”
However, Jon Gruden, also a commentator on Monday Night Football, said that he will continue to use the name. “That is the name,” he told Deitsch. “I’m going to refer to every team as the team they like to be referred to. And I have a lot of respect to people’s opinion. I’m going to refer to them as the Redskins.”
Wheeler said he hopes that a formal action will not be necessary to force Snyder’s hand. “I hope that this is something that if enough people express themselves, Dan Snyder can see which way things are going," Wheeler told Broadcasting & Cable magazine.
The Washington NFL team next plays on Sunday at FedEx Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars.