Groups Ask Broadcasters to Eschew Use of Redskins

Over 100 groups including the NAACP and Common Cause are asking broadcasters to stop using the name "Redskins"—a "dictionary defined racial slur"—when referring to the Washington NFL team of that name.

Those groups are issuing a letter to that effect Thursday (Sept. 4) to coincide with the opening day of the NFL season.

“We are writing to ask you to join other media organizations in refusing to broadcast the Washington team’s name on the public airwaves. The team’s name is a dictionary-defined racial slur... Throughout history, this term has been used to disparage Native Americans. It is the term used by bounty hunters to describe bloody Native scalps, and it was the epithet screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands.”

The "Change the Mascot" campaign, which has been pushing for a name change, says it also plans to air a radio ad in Houston, where the Redskins are playing their first game this weekend, urging listeners to contact their local broadcasters and urge them to stop using the name in reporting on the team.

Earlier this week, George Washington University professor John Banzhaf challenged one of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's radio station licenses at the FCC, saying its use of the name bordered on obscenity, could be hate speech, and was not in the public interest.

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.