With recent name changes for professional sports franchises like the former Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, a stronger emphasis is starting to be placed on addressing mascot names that could be deemed offensive. That mission has found its way into the college sports world as well.
According to a recent survey from the Quality Logo Products Blog, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leprechaun mascot was voted the fourth most offensive mascot in the U.S. — coming in behind only Hawaii’s Vili the Warrior, San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior and Florida State’s Osceola and Renegade.
Since those results were released, the university has disputed claims that their mascot is offensive.
As opposed to the universities and professional sports franchises that use Native American imagery, the Fighting Irish argued that their name and mascot comes from a genuine heritage within the organization.
“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,” the school said in a statement on Monday, per the Indy Star. “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.
“Our symbols stand as celebratory representations of a genuine Irish heritage at Notre Dame a heritage that we regard with respect, loyalty and affection.”
The “Fighting Irish” moniker first began as an insult hurled by rival schools. The Notre Dame community, largely populated by Irish Catholics, adopted the name as a term of endearment in the late 1800s. The nickname was officially changed in 1927 when university president Father Matthew Walsh, an Irishman, adopted the label.
While the name may have genuine roots, its the caricature-like leprechaun mascot that some find issue with. The university went on to defend that as well, saying it’s “symbolic of the Fighting Irish and intentionally a caricature.”
Like the Fighting Irish name, the leprechaun first began as a disparaging remark towards Irish people. And like the Fighting Irish, Notre Dame reclaimed this insult as well.
“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.”
The post Notre Dame Has Blunt Response To ‘Offensive’ Mascot Survey appeared first on The Spun.
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