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The Fighting Irish are fighting claims that Notre Dame’s mascot is offensive. The leprechaun mascot has been around for decades, but a survey conducted by Illinois-based Quality Logo Products found the leprechaun to be the fourth-most offensive mascot in the country.
Only Florida State’s Osceola and Renegades, San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior, and Hawaii’s Vili the Warrior ranked higher.
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When confronted by IndyStar, Notre Dame issued a statement saying there is “no comparison between Notre Dame’s nickname and mascot and the Indian and warrior names and mascots used by other institutions such as the NFL team formerly known as the Redskins.”
“None of these institutions were founded or named by Native Americans who sought to highlight their heritage by using names and symbols associated with their people,” said the school.
Notre Dame, which is located in South Bend, Indiana, went on to say that the Irish have been an integral part of the school since its beginning in the 1840s. Notre Dame said the Irish played a key role in adopting the name.
“Our symbols stand as celebratory representations of a genuine Irish heritage at Notre Dame,” the university said, “a heritage that we regard with respect, loyalty and affection.”
As you might expect, a story such as this resulted in a lot of reaction on social media.
“The Notre Dame Mascot is offensive!!” said no Irish person…ever…in the history of recorded time,” tweeted @EddieMcClintock.
“They’ve gone too far!!!,” tweeted @bigrobmckee. “LMAO Lephrechauns aren’t even real.”
“I’m 5’6” with blonde/red hair and red facial hair. Not to mention my last name being Paddie,” tweeted @HunterPaddie. “I’m literally a real life version of Notre Dame’s mascot. Take a hike if you think it’s offensive.”
One person that does not find this silly is ESPN’s Max Kellerman. He has called on Notre Dame to follow the lead of MLB’s Cleveland franchise and change its name. Cleveland is ditching the “Indians” name and replacing it with “Guardians.”
“Many Irish-Americans are not offended, but many are,” Mr. Kellerman said. “Should that also change? The answer is yes! Unequivocally yes. Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalized people that offend, even some among them, should be changed.”