Clyburn Signals Issue with 'Redskins'

Add FCC Commissioner Mignon clyburn to the list of commissioners that have an issue with the Redskins name.

During the FCC's unanimous vote to ax the sports blackout rules, which had protected NFL game blackouts, she took a little time out to refer to the ongoing controversy over the team's name, which a number of native Americans find offensive, as well as to dress down the NFL.

"I must say that football has long eclipsed baseball as America’s national pastime...This is true even considering the current fate of Washington’s football team, which is saddled with injuries, wrestling with quarterback challenges, and resisting calls to change the team’s name for being offensive to Native Americans," she said, and then added: "And it is true even with a league heavily criticized for its repeated fumbles for insensitivity to spouses and girlfriends, and for not incorporating the principles of The Rooney Rule to hiring advisers to address those headline-grabbing issues which have occurred off the field."

The Rooney Rule requires the NFL to interview minority candidates for jobs.

The Redskins have been under pressure from many in Washington, mostly Democrats. Both FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel have signaled they have a problem with the name. Wheeler has said the name is offensive and should go. Legal activist John Banzhaf has also challenge the FCC license of Redskins owner Dan Snyder over his refusal to change the name, arguing that its use on-air is a racial slur akin to obscenity.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.