Another arrogant, waste-of-space professor is embarrassing himself in public. This time it’s over the term Redskins. I’m sorry if the word is offensive to Native Americans. However, there are better ways to deal with insensitivity than having some academic prima donna throw a public hissy fit.
It’s all because Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, won’t change the name of his football team. So, this lawyer-professor petitioned the FCC insisting they deny renewing the license for Snyder’s radio station because Snyder permits broadcasting of the word “Redskins”. Really. That’s what it says. You can read it in the FCC’s answer here. On second thought, let me quote it:
Banzhaf [the law professor] urges us to deny the Application because Red Zebra [Snyder’s group of radio stations] permits the Station’s broadcast of the word “Redskins” to identify the professional football team named the Washington Redskins. In addition, Banzhaf questions whether Daniel Snyder (“Snyder”), the managing member of Red Zebra’s parent company and the majority owner of the Washington Redskins, possesses the character qualifications required of a Commission licensee.
Isn’t it interesting that the FCC determines whether or not an individual “possesses the character qualifications required of a Commission licensee”? How did the land of the free become a place where a gaggle of public servants determines who does and does not have good character?
Anyway, the FCC paper claims the professor “mischaracterized” the previous FCC cases he used in his arguments for his petition. This is what we have training a new generation of lawyers. The prof also claims that the term Redskins “incites violence against Indians.” However, the FCC determined that the claim did not pass the Brandenburg test, a standard that “determine[s] when inflammatory speech intending to advocate illegal action can be restricted.”
Ultimately, the FCC denied the request to renew the station’s license because the petition was filed three years too late. What kind of law professor would file a petition three years too late? One who is either an arrogant waste of space or one who is getting his foot in the door to bring it up later and force Snyder to do what he, the tenured prima donna, wants. In my opinion, that still makes him a waste of space.
On the other hand, the whole embarrassing petition brings to our attention the fact that our nation’s promise of freedom of speech is extremely fragile. That the FCC has the authority to judge a person’s character perhaps suggests that our belief that we still have this freedom is merely an illusion. It seems they have laws in place that can shut us down at any time, if they choose to enforce them.
As to banning certain words from the airwaves, it reminds me of the Knights who formerly said Ni. From Matt’s Monty Python Repository:
TALL KNIGHT: Don’t say that word.
ARTHUR: What word?
TALL KNIGHT: I cannot tell you. Suffice to say is one of the words the Knights of Ni! cannot hear!
ARTHUR: How can we not say the word, if you don’t tell us what it is?
TALL KNIGHT (cringing in fear): You said it again!