Ons Dame, nicknamed the Fighting Irish, was said to have one of the most offensive mascots in the U.S., according to a survey from the Quality Logo Products Blog. The leprechaun came in fourth place behind Hawaii’s Vili the Warrior, San Diego State’s Aztec Warrior and Florida State’s Osceola and Renegade.
The university pushed back on the claim.
“It is worth noting … that there is no comparison between Notre Dame’s nickname and mascot and the Indian and warrior names (en) mascots used by other institutions such as the NFL team formerly known as the Redskins,” the school said in a statement to the Indy Star Maandag. “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.”
Sports nicknames and mascots have come under more intense scrutiny since the summer of 2020. The Washington Football Team changed its name from the Redskins and the Cleveland Indians have plans to change their name to the Guardians next season.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Braves have also been under fire for using Native American monikers but have not made any hint that they have plans to change their names. The Chiefs did announce the decision to retire their horse, Warpaint, and the Braves have cracked down on fans using the tomahawk chop during games.