Column: Washington team should be worried about FCC petition

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Law professor John Banzhaf has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to bar the broadcast of a racial slur against American Indians:
Banzhaf has focused his sights on a new, high-profile target — the name of Washington’s professional football franchise — and team owner Dan Snyder has grounds to worry.

Banzhaf has opened a useful new legal front in the swelling campaign to pressure Snyder to change the name. He has filed one legal petition and threatened more to block renewal of federal broadcast licenses for radio and TV stations that routinely use the team’s name on the air.

That would include almost every broadcast outlet in the country.

Banzhaf’s argument: The team name is a racial slur, offensive to many Native Americans, so airing it is against the public interest.

He says the term violates Federal Communications Commission standards against indecency, profanity and hate speech.

If the FCC could make a huge fuss with CBS for briefly exposing Janet Jackson’s nipple during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, Banzhaf says, then it ought to be able to use its weight to push an offensive term off the airwaves.

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Robert McCartney: GWU professor who beat tobacco industry uses FCC to pressure Redskins over name (The Washington Post 9/25)

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