The leprechaun mascot for Norte Dame is one of the most recognizable mascots in college sports. However, according to a new survey, the mascot is one of the offensive in college football. The survey, according to the IndyStar, showed that the leprechaun mascot is the fourth most offensive football mascot in the nation. The top three most offensive mascots wear face paint, headdresses and are insensitive to Native Americans.
“It is worth noting … that 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,” Notre Dame said in a statement to the IndyStar. “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.”
The survey was conducted by Quality Logo Products. The three mascots ranked ahead of the Norte Dame leprechaun are Osceola and Renegade of Florida State, the Aztec Warrior of San Diego State and Vili the Warrior of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Notre Dame adopted the nickname Fighting Irish in 1927 after being called the new by other schools and media members for years. Notre Dame said the leprechaun is “symbolic of the Fighting Irish and intentionally a caricature.”
“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.”
This is not the first time Notre Dame has dealt with issues with their mascot. In September 2019, Notre Dame debut a new mascot, Samuel Jackson, a Black student being the leprechaun. Jackson received backlash on social media but also received his share of support.
“My role now as Leprechaun, and identifying as I do, is only a symbol towards that. Regardless of my race or any other identifications, I know I have a family here,” Jackson said to NBC news affiliate, WNDU in May 2019. Jackson and Lynnette Wukie are the second and third black mascots in Notre Dame history, with the first being Mike Brown who graduated in 2001.