Notre Dame's Black Leprechaun Mascot Responds to Racist Criticism Among Social Media

Notre Dame debuted a new mascot on Monday when the football team played Louisville who later became a victim of implicit and explicit racism on social media. Dave Portnoy, the President of Barstool Sports, went to Twitter to show his disappointment of Samuel Jackson, a young black student, being the new Notre Dame mascot.

"You know what is sad? Internet outrage culture has made me afraid to say that I think the ND mascot should always be a midget looking ginger," Portnoy said. "So I'm just not gonna say it."

Many were in support of Portnoy with one fan writing: "But really the guy is supposed to be a short ginger leprechaun. I'm all for equality but cmon (sic)." Another fan echoed the sentiments, implicitly suggesting how the "next thing we know, the Syracuse Orange is gonna be an apple."

Jackson noticed the criticism targeted at him and that led to him responding on his Twitter account, urging fans and opponents of the Big Ten Conference team to "use this negative energy" to bring unity among football fans.

The support for the former Alabama high school student poured in with one fan writing, "If you got a problem with this man being the leprechaun for the Irish. Maybe you should check yourself or find another team." Another fan said, "Have a great year as Notre Dame's leprechaun. You bring a ton of energy to the fans and the stadium. Be bigger than the detractors!"

Jackson and Lynnette Wukie are the second and third black mascots in Notre Dame history, with the first being Mike Brown who graduated in 2001. Wukie was not on the field for Monday's game.

"My role now as Leprechaun, and identifying as I do, is only a symbol towards that. Regardless of my race or any other identifications, I know I have a family here," Jackson said to NBC news affiliate, WNDU in May.

Wukie said the only thing they are trying to do is showing everyone that tradition is not for just one group of people.


"We're not changing tradition," she said town. "We're not breaking tradition. We're just showing that the tradition of Notre Dame is for anyone and everyone that wants to go after it."

It looks having Jackson on the field was a good thing for the Irish as they defeated Louisville 35-17. The team's next game will be their home opener against New Mexico on Sept. 14.