‘It’s racist to Irish people’ – American university under pressure to ban its ‘offensive’ leprechaun mascot and ‘Fighting Irish’ nickname

‘It’s racist to Irish people’ – American university under pressure to ban its ‘offensive’ leprechaun mascot and ‘Fighting Irish’ nickname

ANOTHER day, another innocuous tradition for the offence police to sanitise.

The University of Notre Dame in the US is under pressure to scrap its football team’s leprechaun-themed mascot and ‘Fighting Irish’ nickname amid claims it’s racist.

Professionally outraged ESPN host Max Kellerman took it upon himself on Tuesday to experience offence on behalf of millions of Irish-Americans and call for the traditions to be censored.

His comments come after the Cleveland Indians decided to ditch their Chief Wahoo mascot over vocal pressure from Native American campaigners, who said it was offensive to their culture.

Similarly, the Washington Redskins are also under pressure to ditch their own contentious symbol.

With the ridiculousness of comparing the ‘Fighting Irish’ logo with the plight of Native Americans obviously lost on Mr Kellerman, he grumbled: “Many Irish-Americans are not offended, but many are.

“And should that also change? The answer is yes, unequivocally yes.

“Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalised people that offend even some among them should be changed. It’s not that hard.”

Notre Dame – a private Catholic university in Indiana – adopted their iconic leprechaun symbol a century ago when Irish people in the US (and, well, in most places) were viewed as violent alcoholics.

But the term ‘Fighting Irish’ was actually coined in the 1920s – inspired by the fearlessness and fighting spirit displayed by Irish-American footballers.

Presumably, the leprechaun logo may well irritate a small number of Irish-Americans whose ancestors had a rough time after stepping off the boat 150 years ago.


We don’t know in any case because – before now – no one was bothered enough about the thing to knock it.

MLB Network's Brian Kenny took to Twitter shortly after Kellerman’s comments to defend him, suggesting that anyone who claims to have never met someone offended by Notre Dame's mascot can claim that no longer.

When an Irishman replied that the leprechaun isn't offensive – let alone “subhuman” – Kenny felt offended that someone else had the nerve to not feel... offended.

“That’s ok,” the Irish-American broadcaster added. “It paints us as a bunch of foolish, drinking, fighting, singing, dancing, & lying gnomes, but if you’re good with it.”

But despite Kenny’s support – seemingly shared by very few – many took the time to criticise Kellerman's call for censorship.

“So MSESPN is now arguing that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish moniker is offensive to Irish people and needs to be changed. Seriously. MSESPN has truly lost its mind,” tweeted radio host Clay Travis.

Similarly, reality TV star Kristen Doute said: “Max Kellerman is creating a bigger problem. Who’s offended by Notre Dame’s legendary logo/mascot?! I have a box of tampons for you. This is getting really old, really fast.”

Touché. Book burning may not be as fashionable as it once was – but the same desire for control persists today – social media just replaced the fire pit.