Fox News firebrand Bill O’Reilly largely sidestepped the issue when David Letterman asked him where he stands on the hot-button issue of the Washington Redskins’ name.
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Instead of answering the question with a simple yes or no, O’Reilly jokingly suggested an alternative name for the NFL franchise that represents the nation’s capital.
“We live in a politically correct country now, and that’s what’s driving [the recent groundswell of support for a Redskins name-change], and there are some Native-Americans that are upset,” O’Reilly said to Letterman when O’Reilly appeared on Letterman’s “Late Show” Wednesday night on CBS.
“I’d like to see the team change its name too,” O’Reilly joked, “to the Washington Chaos! First and 10 for the Chaos! To remind everybody how chaotic these people are!”
The two then discussed the supposed origins of the term “redskins,” opining that the word stemmed from the tradition of Indians smearing their faces with red war paint in preparation for clashes with the U.S. Army.
“To me, I understand the legacy of the [word] Redskins,” O’Reilly said. “I don’t think it was designed to offend anybody.”
Letterman’s opinion was that a name-change would be “the least” that could be done for “an enormous race of people [who were run] right out of their own country.”
To which O’Reilly, an Irish-American, replied: “I don’t know if you should take it out on the Washington Redskins football team.” Then he asked: “What about the Fighting Irish [of Notre Dame]? Isn’t that a cliché?”
In the final analysis, O’Reilly said he would like to see more-definitive data on how Native-Americans themselves feel about the Redskins name. Said he: “I’d like to see a poll done among Native-Americans to see if they really are offended. And if they are, then they can change it to the Washington Chaos, which is a great name!”