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ND leprechaun mascot addresses racist Twitter comments

| Monday, September 9, 2019

Senior Samuel B. Jackson, one of the University’s three leprechaun mascots and only the second African American to ever serve in the role, urged Irish fans to come together Tuesday after receiving racist criticism for being chosen to represent Notre Dame this year.

Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, a sports and culture blog, posted a photo of Jackson at Monday night’s game along with photos of three white leprechauns on his Twitter account.

“You know what is sad?” Portnoy tweeted Sept 2. “Internet outrage culture has made me afraid to say that I think the ND mascot should always be a midget looking ginger. So I’m just not gonna say it.”

The following day Jackson addressed the viral tweet and ensuing comments by Portnoy’s followers by posting on his own Twitter account.

Emma Farnan | The Observer
Sam Jackson as one of the ND leprechaun mascots at the first Notre Dame football game of the 2019 season.

“Like it or not, this guy right here is still one of your Notre Dame leprechauns!” Jackson tweeted. “How about we use this negative energy to bring us together this season? See y’all next game.”

Jackson, along with juniors Conal Fagan and Lynnette Wukie, was chosen in the spring to represent the University’s mascot for the upcoming year. Jackson and Wukie are the second and third African Americans to serve as the leprechaun, and Wukie is the University’s first female leprechaun. The trio is the most diverse group of leprechauns picked since the leprechaun became the official mascot in 1965.

Following the appointment, Jackson said in April that he looked to alumnus Michael Brown (’01) – the University’s first African American leprechaun – to pursue the mascot role, and he sees his position as the leprechaun as a way for him make his mark on the University.

“When I first came here, I was a big Notre Dame fan, but I didn’t have the history or legacy that my friends did,” Jackson said at the time. “Being able to make my own experiences and memories here at this University and to be able to represent it — especially as a senior — is just the best feeling. I feel like I have solidified my presence and voice, and am now etching it into the very fabric of the University.”

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