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"Redskins" Trademark Rejected as "Offensive" "Derogatory Slang"
Dramatic Ruling Could Lead to Ban of On-Air Use of "Redskins" by Broadcasters, as Well as Loss of Trademarks by NFL Team
In addition, it would provide precedent for an effort by several former FCC commissioners and officials to require broadcasters to refrain from using the word on the air, especially during daytime hours, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who first suggested using broadcast law as a weapon against the continued and unnecessary use of the word on the nation's airwaves.
Twelve experts in broadcast regulation, including several former FCC commissioners and FCC counsel, have written that using the word "Redskin" on the air is likely to be contrary to federal law because it constitutes an "indecency" if not an "obscenity,"
Their carefully considered legal opinion provides further support for a legal project begun several years ago by Banzhaf to formally challenge the license renewal of broadcasters which unnecessary use the "R-word" [equivalent to the "N-word]; a word which has been found in several legal proceedings to be indecent, derogatory, and racist.
Banzhaf, whom Reader's Digest called "The Man Behind the Ban on Cigarette Commercials,"
The letter from former FCC chairman Reed Hundt and 11 other broadcast experts say the R-word is the most derogatory name a Native American can be called, and is an "unequivocal racial slur" akin to the N-word. They liken the use of Redskin to an "obscenity,"
Even if the word "Redskins" only constitutes an "indecency,"
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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