Northern Ireland

Notre Dame fighting Irish leprechaun mascot voted one of most 'offensive' in American college sports

Notre Dame's offending 'Fighting Irish' logo and mascot 
Notre Dame's offending 'Fighting Irish' logo and mascot 

A 'fighting Irish' leprechaun mascot has been voted one of the most "offensive" in American college sports.

The Notre Dame mascot and logo was voted the fourth-most offensive mascot, according to a survey conducted by Quality Logo Products Blog.

Officials from the private Catholic research university in South Bend, Indiana, which has won 13 college football championships, defended it, saying the symbols are "celebratory representations of a genuine Irish heritage at Notre Dame" which they regarded with "respect, loyalty and affection".

Notre Dame said its nickname and mascot emphasise the resilience of the Irish people.

"In both the upraised fists of the leprechaun mascot and the use of the word 'fighting', the intent is to recognise the determination of the Irish people and, symbolically, the university's athletes," it said.

The term was made the team's official nickname in 1927 by then-university president Fr Matthew Walsh, who was of Irish descent.

There have been several sports franchises in the US which have changed their names due to public pressure. In April, the Cleveland Indians announced the baseball team would be called the Guardians.

Last year, the NFL's Washington team dumped its former Redskins nickname.

"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 university said.