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FCC head: Redskins name ‘derogatory’

The head of the Federal Communications Commission wants the Washington Redskins to change the NFL team's name.

"I don't use the term personally and I think it is offensive and derogatory,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told Broadcasting and Cable.

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"I am a Civil War buff," added Wheeler, who has written books about the period and former President Abraham Lincoln, "and there were a lot of terms that were appropriate at that time that aren't appropriate any more."

While the name might be offensive, Wheeler suggested that his agency, which controls the licenses to TV and radio stations that show football games, probably would not use its powers to force a name change. Earlier this summer, a George Washington University law professor asked the FCC to revoke the license of one of Redskins owner Dan Snyder's radio stations over the team's name.

"I think it would be great if the Washington football team would recognize those kinds of changes itself," Wheeler told the trade publication. "I hope that this is something that if enough people express themselves, Dan Snyder can see which way things are going."

The NFL team name has long been controversial but has come under renewed fire from all corners in recent months and years.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark on the name and logo earlier this summer, which could imperil much of its profits from merchandise if the ruling is not overturned. 

Public officials have also blasted the name, including 50 senators — all of whom caucus with Democrats — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.