If you haven’t gotten a chance to see Gritty, the new mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers, take a good look. Because his next photo might be a mugshot.
Philadelphia police say that the giant orange mascot is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot.
The team has not revealed who was wearing the costume the day in question.
Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met Gritty at an event for season ticket holders on November 19th.
Brandon patted Gritty on the head after he and his father posed for a photo with the mascot in Wells Fargo Center.
Greenwell says that as Brandon walked away, Gritty jumped out of his chair, got a running start and “punched my son as hard as he could.”
Officials at Comcast Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers, says it investigated but couldn’t verify Greenwell’s account. Greenwell told the newspaper that he only wants an apology and something special for his son.
Greenwell wrote an email to the Flyer, saying,
“I know it was not correct for my son to harmlessly tap him on his head but for a Flyers employee to get [sic] throw a full punch at someone with his back turned and hurt a 13-year old boy is assault, unprofessional and unacceptable for your organization.”
A Flyers spokesperson sent an email to the Philadelphia Inquirer in response to the allegation.
“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim.”
In a chain of emails, Greenwell claims that Comcast Spectacor VP of Risk Management, Laurie Kleinman admitted to Gritty striking his son.
Kleinman shot back.
“At no time did I state that one of my colleagues hit your son,” Kleinman replied in a later e-mail to Greenwell. “Gritty, however, recalls being hit on the head repeatedly by someone during one of the earlier photo shoots.”
There is no video of the event to corroborate Greenwell’s claims. He did say that due to the alleged punch in the back, he has had to take his son to a chiropractor to deal with the pain.
Yeah, on second thought, maybe Gritty did punch the kid…. https://t.co/uAOo2SwsbO
— Jillian Fisher (@FisherJillian) January 23, 2020
If these allegations turn out to be true, it would hardly be the first time that the person in a costume got arrested for the decisions they made.
While mascots usually don’t get in trouble for their behavior during a game, the University of Cincinnati Bearcat managed to find a way when Cincinnati met Pittsburgh in what was then its annual River City Rivalry. With snow falling at Nippert Stadium, the Bearcats’ mascot, played by M. Robert Garfield III, started throwing snowballs at the Pittsburgh fans and was told to stop by stadium security.
Instead, Garfield shoved a security guard and was promptly arrested and removed from the stadium.
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In 2004, Chester Brewer, who portrayed one of the Chicago Bulls two mascots, “Da Bull”, was arrested for allegedly selling marijuana out of his car and possession of the illegal substance. At the time, Brewer had been part of the Bulls’ organization since 1996.
Incredibly, that wasn’t even the worst instance of a Bulls mascot brushing afoul of the law. Two years later at the annual Taste of Chicago, the other half of the duo, Benny the Bull, chose to ride a mini motorcycle through Chicago’s Grant Park to give the Bulls a presence at the event.
One problem: neither he nor the Bulls had applied for a permit with the city to ride the motorcycle, as the Bulls had simply planned on him making an appearance without the motorcycle. Anderson was pulled over and punched an officer, landing him in handcuffs.
The New England Patriots have been well-known for making all the right moves over the past decade-plus, but that didn’t extend to the mascot.
In 2009, Rhode Island closed a longtime loophole that had accidentally made prostitution legal in the Ocean State, and one of the men implicated in a sting shortly after that change was Robert Sormanti, one of the men who played Pat Patriot.
And finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates found themselves wrapped up in the cities drug trials of the 1980’s, which centered around cocaine. In 1985, with the Pirates in the midst of one of their worst seasons in history, things got even worse when Kevin Koch, the man behind the Pirate Parrot costume, was arrested for his role in distributing cocaine in and around Pittsburgh, including to Pirates players.
Koch, however, escaped punishment by becoming an informant for the FBI to bring down the cocaine ring.
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