|Notre Dame's Leprechaun eyes the championship trophy in the second half.|
(Credit: Robert Duyos / Sun Sentinel / January 7, 2013)
With all the brouhaha around the Washington Redskins, is it time that Irish Americans looked again at the Fighting Irish leprechaun?
Notre Dame symbolizes Irish for millions worldwide but the symbol is outdated, disrespectful to Irish Americans and frankly, old fashioned.
Let’s face it, the fighting Irish leprechaun hardly reflects well on the Irish no more than the dreadful term “redskins” reflects on American Indians.
The Redskins may be about to have their day.
As Maureen Dowd wrote in the NY Times on Wednesday, “At the end of the N.F.L. fall meeting here on Tuesday, (NFL Commissioner) Goodell told reporters that he grew up in Washington rooting for the Redskins and never considered the name “derogatory.” But, he added, “we need to listen, carefully listen, and make sure we’re doing what’s right.”
Sounds like the Redskin name is about to be scalped - hooray for that.
Now to the leprechaun.
The leprechaun himself is angry, with his fists up, representing a stereotype as old as the Irish themselves for an alleged proclivity to argument and alcohol.
I’m sure there are many at modern day Notre Dame and its followers who would prefer an Irish wolfhound or Celtic chieftain as a more dignified representation of the Irish image.
I’m one of them. I love the campus, serve on the Keough-Naughton Irish Institute Board there with great pride, go to two or more Notre Dame games a year -- but can’t stand that ugly leprechaun.
When he parades up and down the sideline looking like he’s looking for a fight I feel like turning a water hose on him.
When the cameras flash to him after every Notre Dame score I cringe.
Yes I know the underdog history and how vital that image is to the football team today, but it does not reflect modern Irish America or the Irish identity.
Notre Dame has done marvelous work in recent years, rekindling the Irish link, thanks mainly to Donald Keough, former Notre Dame board chairman, and Martin Naughton, the Irish businessman/philanthropist.
The game in Dublin last year when 35,000 traveled from America was an incredible boost to the Irish economy in tough times.
The Notre Dame campus in Dublin is among the finest of any college in Europe.
College president Father John Jenkins has done a remarkable job gearing up Notre Dame for the new century.
Except for that darn leprechaun.
I vote we fire him from a cannon at the next home game (USC, I’ll be there) and bid him farewell as he sails into the night sky.
Then present the new symbol (Celtic warrior, Irish wolfhound, suggestions welcome). Time for the green goblin to go!
Here's the MSNBC's "The Ed Show" on the topic of the Redskin's name:
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