Monday, August 25, 2014

FCC Fines CBS $1 Million For Uttering "Redskins" During Redskins Broadcast

WASHINGTON — (TYDN) The Federal Communications Commission levied Monday a $1 million fine against CBS for failing to bleep out the word "Redskins" during its Sunday broadcast of the Washington Redskins' pre-season game in Baltimore, TheYellowDailyNews has learned.

The FCC said CBS announcers during the Redskins matchup with the Baltimore Ravens uttered the word "Redskins" 212 times each on both its video and radio broadcasts Sunday. Media observers said it was the biggest breach of decency standards in the FCC's history of overseeing content on broadcast airwaves.

The fine, which could escalate, nearly doubles the $550,000 indecency sanction imposed on CBS for its 2004 Super Bowl halftime show in which singer Janet Jackson's right breast was exposed for less than a second to millions of prime-time viewers. A federal appeals court in 2008, however, overturned the FCC's indecency fine, ruling that Jackson's breast was "well shaped and pretty decent overall."

Meanwhile, Jackson's Nipplegate was tame in comparison to the Redskins broadcast debacle, an embarrassment that insiders are describing as "Redskinsgate."

"What makes this broadcast even more egregious is that indecent content began being uttered the moment the broadcast began Sunday, and it never stopped for three hours," a source familiar with the investigation told TheYellowDailyNews on condition of anonymity.

The commission also is poised to sanction CBS for failing to obscure from television viewers the word "Redskins" embroidered on the Redskins' jerseys, sources familiar with the investigation said. A preliminary analysis of the footage of the Redskins-Ravens game, obtained by TheYellowDailyNews, suggests CBS could have illegally exposed viewers to the "Redskins" jersey embroidery perhaps thousands of times Sunday.

Depending on the outcome of the FCC probe, fines of at least $2 million more could follow, officials said.

CBS announcers Boomer Esiason and Rich Gannon were repeatedly told by the network during commercial breaks to quit referring to the Redskins as the Redskins and to solely call the team, "Washington."

An FCC official, however, said that the commission was mulling questions from CBS and other broadcasters about whether they may call the Redskins team "Washington" without being fined.

"We want to know whether using the term 'Washington' is indecent speech," an NFL Network source told TheYellowDailyNews on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

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