The kid’s father claims that after the kid patted “Gritty” on top of his furry orange head, the bug-eyed creature took a running start and punched the kid in the back, leaving a bruise. The Flyers say that they conducted an investigation and concluded that “Gritty” did nothing wrong and there was no evidence to support the assault claim.
I suppose one could argue that the combination of circumstances — the fact that the incident allegedly happened in Philadelphia, where sports fans are notorious, involved a goggle-eyed mascot named “Gritty” for a team playing a sport where dropping the gloves and taking a few swings is an accepted part of the game, and a franchise that recently unveiled a “rage room” to allow frustrated fans, and “Gritty,” blow off steam by wrecking various household items — should be factored into the investigation, but clearly we need to let normal police investigative techniques take their course.
The more important lesson here is that all anthropomorphic mascots should be given as wide a berth as possible, whether they are found at a hockey game, a ballpark, or an amusement park. Unless you’re a “furrie” — that is, somebody who gets his or her jollies wearing a fuzzy or hairy costume depicting some kind of character — being a mascot would be one of the worst jobs imaginable. You’re stuck in a hot, probably smelly costume with inadequate breathing capabilities, you’ve got the heavy burden of engaging in “zany” behavior at all times, and the fans around you undoubtedly aren’t respecting your personal space in any way. Pats on the head, and for that matter kicks in the behind, are probably a regular occurrence.
I’m guessing that, in the professional mascot world, “Gritty” isn’t alone in wanting to use a “rage room” now and then.