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Max Kellerman Says Notre Dame Should Change Fighting Irish Nickname

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After news that the Cleveland Indians will ditch the "Chief Wahoo" logo, First Take's Max Kellerman thinks Notre Dame should make a similar move.

Max Kellerman's controversial take comes after news that the Indians will make a change to their uniforms. The MLB franchise is updating its uniforms for the 2019 season.

When that happens, the controversial Chief Wahoo will be no more. While the NFL's Washington Redskins have drawn the most ire from Native American groups over their nickname, there was an increased push to phase out Chief Wahoo during the Indians' recent run to the World Series.

Cleveland made it to the 2016 World Series. It lost to the Chicago Cubs, who captured their first title since 1908 that year.

A number of college programs have made moves away from Native American mascots in recent years as well. A notable exception is Florida State, which has a strong relationship with the Seminole tribe.

Kellerman took the argument a step forward during a discussion of the Indians decision today. While there have been very mixed results in polling among natives over the Redskins name, he believes that even if 10-percent of a population is offended by the name, change should be considered.

That doesn't only go for Native American names either, according to Kellerman. He raised Notre Dame as another example.

Alex Griswold of The Washington Free Beacon posted video from today's First Take. From his YouTube account:

Kellerman brought up the Fighting Irish name halfway through. He said that if Irish-Americans are offended, the answer to whether the name should be changed is "unequivocally 'yes.'"

"Many Irish-Americans are not offended, but many are. And should that also change? The answer is yes, unequivocally yes. Pernicious, negative stereotypes of marginalized people that offend even some among them should be changed. It's not that hard."

Kellerman is likely correct that there are some Irish-Americans are offended by the name. However, at least as far as I can remember, there has never been a national push by a large-scale group representing that population for a name change, as there has been for the Redskins and Chief Wahoo issues.

The Notre Dame name also has roots in the school's Catholic background. Many fans take pride in the Fighting Irish name, which also does not seem to be the case with regard to the 'Skins. From Notre Dame's page on the nickname:

The most generally accepted explanation is that the press coined the nickname as a characterization of Notre Dame athletic teams, their never-say-die fighting spirit and the Irish qualities of grit, determination and tenacity. The term likely began as an abusive expression tauntingly directed toward the athletes from the small, private, Catholic institution. Notre Dame alumnus Francis Wallace popularized it in his New York Daily News columns in the 1920s.


"The years passed swiftly and the school began to take a place in the sports world ...'Fighting Irish' took on a new meaning. The unknown of a few years past has boldly taken a place among the leaders. The unkind appellation became symbolic of the struggle for supremacy of the field. ...The team, while given in irony, has become our heritage. ...So truly does it represent us that we unwilling to part with it ..."

So it's a somewhat interesting argument from Max Kellerman. I just don't expect many to be compelled by it without a large population of Irish-Americans raising similar concerns.

On the contrary, Notre Dame fans probably won't like this take at all. A quick Twitter search on the subject reveals as much.