Readers React: FCC chairman: NFL team name dispute to be decided based on law


To the editor: Having read your editorial on the Federal Communications Commission and the name of the Washington NFL team, I think it’s important to clarify what I have — and have not — said on this topic. (“FCC has no business regulating the name of a football team,” Editorial, Oct. 1)

As your editorial noted, the FCC has received and will review a petition to strip the Washington football team’s flagship radio station of its broadcast license on the grounds that the team’s name is derogatory. When asked about this petition at a news conference, I said that we would review the petition on its legal merits.

This is what we do with all petitions. To say that we are reviewing it says nothing about its merits or how we might rule.


Like your editorial board, I find the Washington NFL team name offensive and believe it would be appropriate for the team to adopt a new name. But my personal views are just that — personal — and should not be perceived as an indication on how the commission will or won’t act.

The FCC’s primary focus is on maximizing the benefits of communications technology for the American people while furthering free expression and the 1st Amendment.

Tom Wheeler, Washington

The writer is chairman of the FCC.

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