Notre Dame scoffs at ‘Fighting Irish’ leprechaun’s inclusion in ‘most offensive’ mascot survey

Notre Dame went on the offensive this week when its “Fighting Irish” leprechaun was added to a list of “most offensive” mascots in a national survey.

The university told the Indianapolis Star that Quality Logo Products’ recent survey — respondents found the leprechaun the fourth-most offensive in the nation — was, for all intents and purposes, absurd.

“Our symbols stand as celebratory representations of a genuine Irish heritage at Notre Dame — a heritage that we regard with respect, loyalty, and affection,” the university said in a statement released Monday.

The survey was conducted online with 1,266 participants who had a chance to view a sampling of 128 mascots, Quality Logo Products said of its methodology.

“Every survey taker evaluated at least 16 mascots,” the company said on its blog. “Each mascot was scored at least 150 times. Questions included multiple-choice rating scales and open-ended comment boxes.”

The first three “most offensive” slots were filled by Native American mascots for Florida State University, San Diego State University and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“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,” Norte Dame’s statement added. “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.”

Quality Logo Products’ blog was updated without the “Most Offensive” category, although a cached Google page still reflects the overall results.

Rounding out the Top 10 “Most Offensive” mascots were the following: Oklahoma State University’s “Pistol Pete”; West Virginia University’s “Mountaineer”; University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ “Hey Reb!”; Arizona State University’s “Sparky the Sun Devil”; New Mexico State University’s “Pistol Pete”; and University of Virginia’s “Cavalier.”

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