In response to the recent media frenzy concerning reports that a poll has found the Notre Dame Leprechaun Mascot and the nickname ‘Fighting Irish’ offensive, the National Anti Defamation Chair of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish American Organization in the U.S., has issued the following statement:
It is with a mixture of disbelief and despondency that the Hibernians read today headlines “Notre Dame leprechaun considered offensive, according to survey” in multiple newspapers and media outlets. This media-manufactured controversy stems from a poll conducted by a T-Shirt printing company that allegedly concluded that the Notre Dame Leprechaun logo and the nickname of “Fighting Irish” are offensive.
The AOH cannot help but question why major news outlets have suddenly bestowed upon Quality Logo Products Inc. of Aurora, Illinois, the gravitas of the Gallup poll. It is also noteworthy that Notre Dame finished fourth in the survey, yet it is the focus of the headlines. When has 4th place ever been accorded such notoriety? Sadly, this “controversy” seems to have more to do with a strategy by some media outlets to prioritize titillating headlines over the story’s substance (or lack thereof) to garner mouse clicks, retweets, and shares than any actual outcry of offense.
Sadly, it appears that some seek to weaponize the Notre Dame Leprechaun as part of the continuing debate over sports team names and mascots. Lost on these misguided individuals is that unlike depictions of Native Americans, the Leprechaun is a mythical creature, not an alleged archetype of a group of real human beings. The Leprechaun is a beloved figure of Irish folklore, not history. As to the sobriquet “the Fighting Irish,” most accounts trace it back to the early days of Notre Dame’s sports program when anti-Catholic sentiment in America was high. The fight against such hate is a fight well worth fighting, then and now, and it is a nickname to be proud of.
It is disappointing that the media is chasing claims of offense concerning Notre Dame’s mascot as illusory as the Leprechaun’s crock of gold while ignoring the clearly defaming items that can be bought at Amazon and other retailers; items with phrases such as “Irish Today, Hung Over Tomorrow” or “Kiss Me I’m Irish, Drunk or Whatever.” Those items are truly offensive, no survey from Quality Logo Products Inc needed .