NOTRE DAME has hit back at a survey that found its Fighting Irish leprechaun was voted the fourth-most offensive mascot in college football.
The Indiana university insisted the “celebratory” symbol of the leprechaun reflects “genuine Irish heritage” and its “resiliency” and doesn’t ridicule Irish people.
The storied private Catholic university’s mascot fell behind three other school symbols that purportedly knock Native Americans including Florida’s Osceola and Renegades, San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior, and Hawaii’s Vili the Warrior.
“We identified 128 mascots from schools with NCAA Division 1 football teams and asked 1,266 people to score them,” according to the survey, conducted by Quality Logo Products.
The Illinois-based company sought out to discover the best, worst, sexiest, unsexiest, creepiest, and most offensive mascots.
ALL-TIME WORST MASCOTS
For instance, the top worst mascots of all-time are Stanford University’s Stanford Tree, Wichita State’s Wushock, the Wheat Stalk, and UC Santa Cruz’s Sammy the Slug.
Notre Dame was crestfallen that their leprechaun ranked so high up on the offensive tier, which appears to have been scrubbed from the final results since its release.
It further called a foul over the company it was amongst, namely schools with Native American-themed mascots.
“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,” according to a statement to the Indianapolis 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.”
‘IRISH FOLKLORE, NOT MOCKERY’
The South Bend school argued that its symbols stand as “celebratory representations of a genuine Irish heritage at Notre Dame… A heritage that we regard with respect, loyalty and affection.”
And it claimed the “Fighting Irish” isn’t mocking Irish people – but showcasing their resiliency.
“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 school added.
The mascot also appears to hark back to Irish folklore.
“The Notre Dame logo features a side view of the figure with his dukes up, ready to battle anyone that comes his way,” according to the university’s athletics website.
To become the official live version of the Leprechaun, a student has to audition every year in full regalia that features a cutaway green suit and Irish country hat.
The Leprechaun also brandishes a “shillelagh” (or thick stick made of blackthorn or oak) and inspires the crowd to cheer the squad on “supposedly bringing magical powers and good luck to the Notre Dame team.”
The mascot routinely running down the field bearing an Irish flag celebrating a Notre Dame touchdown.
FROM TERRIER TO LEPRECHAUN
It wasn’t the institution’s original mascot.
Up until the mid-1960s Notre Dame fielded Irish terrier dogs.
The first debuted back in 1930 and was named Brick Top Shuan-Rhu.
Other K-9s also represented Notre Dame and the name changed to Clashmore Mike.
The Fighting Irish are one of the most prestigious Division I college programs winning 22 national titles in various sports.
The football squad last won the national title back in 1988 under Coach Lou Holtz.
The university is tied with USC for the most alumni taking honors of being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame than Notre Dame with 13 former players voted to Canton, Ohio.
Source: The Sun