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Sadly I’m not at all surprised SOME people are offended by the Notre Dame mascot and nickname.
Some people also have enough time on their hands to complain and moan about a mascot but don’t use any time to actually research said mascot or team nickname. They’d instead rather be upset and distraught than listening for a minute and perhaps learning a thing or two.
That’s not to take anything away from some of the egregious mockeries sports have made with names, logos and mascots over time. The Washington Football Team’s old nickname, Cleveland Indians former logo, and Marquette University’s appalling old mascot were all called out until changed and rightfully so. Each of those examples were done to make a mockery of a certain group of people and that can’t be denied.
The Notre Dame leprechaun mascot however?
Since it was just named the fourth most-offensive mascot in college sports let’s go over just a few things to see just how “offensive” the mascot and Fighting Irish names are.
*-please note that all bold type below is taken from Dana Hunsinger Benbow’s recent piece for the Indianapolis Star
Origins of the 'Fighting' Irish nickname
Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
In a name alone, yes, I fully understand why "Fighting Irish" can be seen as offensive. If you see that name and know nothing else it's easy to draw yourself to stereotypes that were wrongly hurled the way of Irish Americans and Catholics for years. Notre Dame has stated its nickname, Fighting Irish, began as a term used by other schools to mock its athletic teams.
At the time, anti-Catholicism and anti-immigrant sentiments were strong. Because Notre Dame was largely populated by ethnic Catholics – mostly Irish, but also Germans, Italians and Poles – the university was a natural target for ethnic slurs, it said.
At one football game in 1899, Northwestern students chanted “Kill the fighting Irish," Notre Dame said.
It's worth noting that Notre Dame did not have a nickname for its sports teams at this point.
Embracing the term 'Fighting Irish'
Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
"Soon, Notre Dame supporters took it up, turning what once was an epithet into an 'in-your-face' expression of triumph," the university said. So instead of running from the name, crying victim, the University of Notre Dame decided to embrace it. Soon, plenty of others, both Irish and non-Irish alike found it to be a form of a rallying cry and became fans of an underdog football team they could relate to. Does this seem like something that was done in any form of mockery?
Notre Dame makes 'Fighting Irish' official nickname
Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
After all of the above happened for literally decades, Notre Dame officially adopted the nickname "Fighting Irish" in 1927 under the direction of university president Father Matthew Walsh, of Irish descent. The "who" in this part of the official decision is also incredibly important when discussing the name.
Parallels of 'Fighting Irish' and Leprechaun Mascot
Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
"Irish-Americans — including those at Notre Dame — again have turned back on former oppressors as a sign of celebration and triumph," the university wrote. "In both the upraised fists of the leprechaun mascot and the use of the word “fighting,” the intent is to recognize the determination of the Irish people and, symbolically, the university’s athletes." Again, embracing and rallying behind instead of running from. This is something that should be admired, not cried for to be done away with.
Kind reminder: leprechauns aren't real
Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
I'm sorry to burst your bubble but perhaps common sense should also kick in at some point, but case it hasn't I just wanted to share with you that leprechauns, although widely known, aren't real.
I only wish I had the time and energy to get upset about a mythical creature.