Police Investigating NHL Mascot for Allegedly Punching 13-Year-Old

Gritty Police Investigation

Getty Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty reacts in the third period against the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center on October 9, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Devils 4-0.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ wild-eyed orange mascot is under investigation for allegedly being the wrong type of monster during a fan event.

Philadelphia police detectives are reportedly looking into a father’s claim that Gritty assaulted his 13-year-old son during an exclusive fan event for season ticket holders, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Christian Hentrick. The father, Chris Greenwell, told The Inquirer he took his son, Brandon, to meet and pose for a picture with Gritty at a November game as part of the event, but it was after the photo was taken where things got ugly.

“In Greenwell’s telling, Brandon playfully patted the mascot on the head after the photo was taken. As Brandon walked away, Gritty got out of his chair, ‘took a running start’ and ‘punched my son as hard as he could,’ Greenwell said Wednesday.”

—Per The Philadelphia Inquirer

The company that owns the Flyers, Comcast Spectacor, reportedly told Greenwell they were unable to verify his account of the alleged incident after conducting an investigation into the matter. The company claimed there was no video footage of the incident because the “cameras in that area of the center are focused on other locations” and were unable to corroborate Greenwell’s version of the story after interview a team employee: “Gritty’s handler.”

After being unable to reach a satisfying agreement with the company, Greenwell brought the incident to Philadelphia police, who have described the open case as an alleged “physical assault” that took place “during a photoshoot with a 13-year-old white male and Flyers mascot Gritty.”

“The investigation is active and ongoing,” police said, via The Inquirer.

Greenwell’s Son Saw Chiropractor About Incident

Greenwell said he took his son to see a chiropractor about a week after the alleged incident and provided The Inquirer with documents from the visit that showed Brandon had been diagnosed with a back bruise, or “a contusion to lower thoracic spine with subluxation.”

While it is hardly the experience the Flyers intended to create when they planned Nov. 19’s photoshoot as a thank-you to loyal season ticket holders, the franchise has denied any wrongdoing on the part of their internet-famous mascot.

“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim,” the Flyers said in a statement, per ESPN.

Could Incident End Gritty’s Appeal?

The Flyers’ own bio page about Gritty describes him as having “bully” tendencies, but the internet might not be so keen to lean into that personality trait if the police find wrongdoing in the conclusion of their investigation.

Gritty broke onto the scene in eye-popping fashion — literally — back in 2018 and quickly became a fan favorite in Philly and beyond. Thousands of, um, colorful memes have decorated the internet in nearly a year and a half since he was introduced as the team’s nightmarish mascot, while Gritty has also made several talk-show appearances to hype up the brand.

Though, the invitations will likely stop rolling in if the police find evidence of an assault, as Greenwell described. The Flyers would almost certainly have no choice but to fire the person under the mask if the claim is substantiated, but could such a public disaster mean eradicating the mascot completely? Until the investigation concludes, there is no way to know what type of ramifications the alleged incident could have on the organization.

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