Federal Communications Commission Chair Tom Wheeler condemned the Washington Redskins’ team name in a recent interview, but says he won’t use his power to push the team’s owner to change it.
“I don’t use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory,” Wheeler said in an interview with Broadcasting and Cable News. “I am a Civil War buff and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren’t appropriate anymore.”
But Wheeler went on to say that it is up to team owner Dan Snyder to ultimately change the name himself. “I think it would be great if the Washington football team would recognize those kinds of changes itself,” Wheeler said. “I hope that this is something that if enough people express themselves, Dan Snyder can see which way things are going.”
Wheeler isn’t the first FCC official to speak out against the Washington football team’s name. Former Chair Reed Hundt has said the name could potentially violate FCC decency standards. In a 2013 letter, several former FCC officials urged Snyder to abandon the name.
Snyder has said several times he has no plans to change the team’s name or mascot. The team’s trademark was canceled because “redskins” is a dictionary defined racial slur, but the team has since appealed that decision.