Leftists Demand Notre Dame Change ‘Fighting Irish’ Nickname, Get Epic Smackdown

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For years, Irish Americans have been proud that the University of Notre Dame adopted as their mascot the “Fighting Irish.” No one ever saw the nickname as a “racial slur” until the leftwing activists started this cancel culture. Now, a group of activists is demanding Notre Dame change the name, and that’s when longtime Trump supporter Lou Holtz, who coached Notre Dame for eleven years, gave them an epic smackdown.

Laura Ingraham, Lou Holtz (Photo Credit: YouTube/Screenshots)

In 1986, Lou Holtz was hired by Notre Dame to transform their losing football team. Between 1988-1993, Holtz became a legend leading the Fighting Irish to a 64–9–1 record. Recently, Holtz has come under fire from the mainstream media for his unabashed support of President Donald Trump.

The 83-year-old is known for his tough tactics, and he does not suffer fools. So, when the “woke” crowd came for Notre Dame’s mascot, Holtz had heard enough.

The legendary football coach appeared on Fox News last week, and host Laura Ingraham asked Holtz about recent calls to “move away” from the “Fighting Irish” moniker. While the exact origin of the nickname varies by storyteller, the activists argue it’s a negative stereotype for the Irish and Catholics.

“Unequivocally, the origins of the nickname stem from a desire to differentiate Notre Dame for its Catholicism,” wrote Daniel Morrison. “It is a negative portrayal of Catholics and immigrants. It is a stereotype of the violent Irish. It’s just been spun into a positive over time.”

This is just pure crap. While it is true there are a few different stories about the origins of the nickname, no one ever claimed it was “negative” until now.

Holtz also wasn’t buying it at all. 

“They were named the Fighting Irish because the Ku Klux Klan tried to attack the Catholics,” Holtz said. “They went down and fought the Ku Klux Klan and that is where the name the Fighting Irish came. Next thing you tell me they want to topple my statue Notre Dame, that’s when I would really get mad.”

One Notre Dame fan tweeted Holtz was “probably referring to the time Notre Dame students roughed up KKK members and chased them through the streets of South Bend.”

The Fighting Irish nickname was first coined for the Irish immigrant soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War in what became called the Irish Brigade, including three regiments from New York.

Their valor was later memorialized in the poetry of Joyce Kilmer. That’s also the Irish way: Ireland’s poetry is often better than its fighting, turning defeat into eternal glory.

The University also has a valid claim to the nickname because the brigade’s beloved chaplain was Rev. William Corby, C.S.C., who later became the third president of Notre Dame.

The Notre Dame website addresses the connection of the “Fighting Irish” nickname and the KKK:

A little-known event occurring in 1924 may have inadvertently contributed to Fighting Irish lore. In a recent book, alumnus Todd Tucker describes how Notre Dame students violently clashed with the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan in that year. A weekend of riots drove the Klan out of South Bend and helped bring an end to its rising power in Indiana at a time when the state’s governor was among its members.

Finally, in 1927, university president Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C., decided that the “Fighting Irish” was preferable to the school’s more derisive nicknames. He said in a statement, “The university authorities are in no way averse to the name ‘Fighting Irish’ as applied to our athletic teams… I sincerely hope that we may always be worthy of the ideal embodied in the term ‘Fighting Irish.’”

When the Irish came to America, they were second class citizens. In fact, they were treated almost as badly as the African slaves. The Ku Klux Klan terrorized them. Now, in the 21st century, Irish Americans are widely considered to reap the benefits of so-called “white privilege.”

However, when the Irish immigrants came to America, they were faced with extreme prejudice, partly due to their Catholicism, and partly due to the ingrained prejudice from the British. Many employers refused to hire the Irish immigrants who had to flee due to the potato famine and the “genocide of 1847.”

Regardless, Irish Americans today do not demand “reparations” or point to the prejudice they endured and play the victim card. It’s with that same American spirit that no one but a fringe far-left is calling for Notre Dame to change its nickname. This isn’t about “racial slurs” and all about a much bigger agenda to cancel our American history.

About Rebecca Diserio, Opinion Columnist 1557 Articles
Rebecca Diserio is a conservative writer and speaker who has been featured in numerous high profile publications. She's a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Lakewood, CA and worked as a Critical Care Registered Nurse at USC Medical Center. A former Tea Party spokesman, she helped manage Star Parker’s campaign for US Congress and hosted a popular conservative radio show where she interviewed Dr. Alveda King, Ann Coulter, David Limbaugh, and Michelle Malkin. A police widow, she resides in Southern California.