Anyone who has been to a live sports event has witnessed some sort of off the wall antics, including Jaxson de Ville’s bungee jump from the lights in Jacksonville, and Benny the Bull’s antics with popcorn in Chicago. It seems, however, that the Philadelphia Flyers Mascot affectionately named Gritty, may have taken the funny antics too far by physically assaulting a fan.
News broke earlier in the week that a father of a young fan has filed a report that Gritty punched his son in the back at a fan meet and greet back in November. Unfortunately for the father filing the report, there is no video evidence of the incident, per Comcast Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers. The 13 year old fan suffered a back contusion as a result of the punch, which seems to be a bit much for Gritty’s aggressive nature.
Chris Greenwell, the boy’s father, described the incident:
“He taps Gritty three times on the head, a light tap . . . After that, my son walks away. Gritty was about eight feet away from my son, got out of the chair and lunged at him and hit him in the back.”Chris Greenwell- per wtkr.com
Greenwell initially sought reimbursement for his son’s medical bills as a result of the attack, but allegedly, Comcast Spectacor attempted to cover up the incident by offering complimentary tickets. Comcast Spectacor claims that a thorough investigation was undertaken and no evidence of wrongdoing was found.
Perhaps the accusations are overblown, or perhaps whoever was under the Gritty mask was playing the role of gritty with far too much vigor. According to the Flyers website, Gritty’s aggressive tendencies are simply part of his nature.
“His father was a “bully,” so naturally he has some of those tendencies – talented but feisty, a fierce competitor, known for his agility given his size. He’s loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team. Legend has it he earned the name “Gritty” for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows.”Gritty’s official description- nhl.com
If that is the case, it seems fairly short sighted on the franchise’s part, as it opens them up to tremendous liability – most notably so for a mascot, who is expected to be around youngsters on a regular basis. Now, the investigation is in the hands of law enforcement, and if evidence is found to prove the claim true, legal action should be taken and Greenwell’s son’s medical bills should be paid. Additional monetary compensation may be available if Greenwell seeks damages in a civil suit for battery. Nevertheless, if this is the nature of the mascot, perhaps the Philly club would be better off reconsidering the mascot’s image, because this probably isn’t the type of publicity the team would like.