Notre Dame Irish

Ken Woodward, Newsweek’s longtime religion editor and a Domer, picks up on the Notre Dame leprechaun issue in Wall St. Journal without mentioning it as such, zeroing in on its name as a form of getting even:

Here's a suggestion: If the NCAA and other latter-day Puritans are concerned about social prejudice, they ought to investigate Notre Dame. Surely the name for its athletic teams, the Fighting Irish, is a slur on all Irish-Americans. The label derives from anti-Catholic nativists who reviled the poor and mostly uneducated Irish immigrants who came to these shores in the mid-19th century -- a drunken, brawling breed, it was said, who espoused the wrong religion. When the fabled Four Horsemen played football for Notre Dame, the team was called the Ramblers. In 1927, the university officially adopted the Fighting Irish, thereby transforming a pejorative nickname into something to cheer about.

If there are Native Americans who feel that Indians or Warriors or Braves is somehow demeaning, they might reflect on the Notre Dame experience. And if the NCAA really cares about diversity and inclusion, it ought to establish an office of Indian Affairs to help Native American athletes with collegiate aspirations. Meanwhile, all paleface Puritan surrogates, beginning with the NCAA, should butt out.

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