Wisconsin sophomore point guard Bronson Koenig, who was thrust into a starting role after senior Traevon Jackson broke his foot last month, is a rarity. As a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, Koenig is one of 14 Division I men’s basketball players who identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native in 2013-14, according to NCAA figures reported by Sports Illustrated.

Koenig spoke openly with SI about the responsibility he feels to be a role model to Native American youth. Koenig addressed a group of basketball players from the Winnebago Tribe in Nebraska before Wisconsin’s regular season finale last year. Following the No. 5 Badgers’ run to the Final Four, the number of speaking requests from tribes only grew.

Koenig, who has embraced the opportunity to be a role model, wasn’t shy about sharing his opinion on the use of Native American mascots during a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus.

“I am disappointed,” Koenig said. “I don’t know if I would say angry but kind of angry because I feel like…and with the mascots and all that stuff I think people think it’s OK to make fun of us. I don’t want to go too far into it. But even other minorities…I feel sometimes like we are lowest of the low, among the minorities. And when a Native American kid sees that growing up and sees the disrespect, it lowers their self-esteem and puts them in a lower place in society. It’s just not a good feeling. … It’s honoring them? It’s not racist? How are you going to say that when you’re not a Native American?”

Koenig told Potrykus that the Redskins name is the most offensive in sports.

“That term comes from when we were skinned and our flesh was red,” Koenig said. “I don’t see how that is honoring us in any way. Is our skin red? Would it be OK for the Kansas City Negroes or the Blackskins? That’s not OK at all.”