Fifty senators wrote a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday calling for the removal of the "racial slur" from the name of Washington's football team. Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth, however, said he viewed the team's name as a "term of respect" for Native Americans.
"It's a historical name. But I don't think there's a lot of people -- first of all, when is the last time you heard people use that as a racial slur?" he asked. "It's not used commonly at all as a racial slur. It's used historically as a term of respect to people. And I think that's how we should remember that."
Panelist Katie Pavlich called the Senate's involvement in the matter a "joke," arguing that the football team's name has been contested for years. Hegseth concurred.
"They use a bludgeon of political correctness to whack people over the head," he said of the senators. "This is ridiculous. The market has spoken on this. If people didn't want to attend games, if they wanted to boycott it, they could."
Hegseth also said a CBS poll found last year that 90 percent of Native Americans didn't find the name "Redskins" offensive. It wasn't clear what poll he was referencing, but Goodell has used a similar talking point in defending the team name. In January, Goodell said "nine of 10 Native Americans support the name," a stat that was thoroughly questioned at the time. As Bleacher Report pointed out, a National Annenberg Election Survey back in 2004 produced such a finding, but the validity of the poll was disputed.
"You can have all the lists you want, you can line them up, they can have their special interests, they can be outrageous -- doesn't mean they represent the majority of Native Americans," he said. "And the Redskins' name has not been used offensively."
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