FCC: 'Redskins' Is Not Profane

Simon Moya-Smith

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday dismissed a case filed by a Washington, D.C.-based law professor arguing the word 'Redskin' is not obscene, according to reports.

George Washington University Professor John Banzhaf wanted the FCC to deny renewal of a broadcast license for WWXX-FM -- a Washington, D.C. area radio station co-owned by Washington team owner Dan Snyder -- because of the station's casual, routine use of a dictionary-defined racial slur.

FCC Media Bureau Chief Peter H. Doyle wrote in his conclusion that the word is not sexual or excretory, therefore it does not fall under the definition of what the commission considers profane.

In his claim, Banzhaf also argues the word 'Redskin' is hate speech, but Doyle wrote the commission has no rules banning hate speech.

Banzhaf told reporter Brooks Boliek at Politico he will continue his effort to see that the R-word is banned from the airwaves.

 “I’ve got quite a number of options we’re still looking at,” he said. “I’ve got to sit down with some of my colleagues and see where we go from here. It’s a disappointment, but it’s certainly not the end of the line.”

In June, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled six of the Washington team's seven trademarks after ruling the word is "disparaging to Native Americans."

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