Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ fuzzy, orange mascot, is under investigation for an alleged physical assault of a 13-year-old boy during a photo shoot at the team’s stadium back in November, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.
Chris Greenwell, the boy’s father and a longtime season ticket holder, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday that his son, Brandon, was “punched and injured” by Gritty, and that the organization “tried to bribe me not to speak about it.”
Greenwell gave more detail in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, describing the Nov. 19 incident, which happened at Wells Fargo Center during an event for season ticket holders.
He told the Inquirer that after the photo was taken, his son patted Gritty on the head and then walked away. The mascot got up, “took a running start,” and “punched my son as hard as he could,” Greenwell said, per the Inquirer.
The South Detectives Division of the police department is conducting an “active and on-going” investigation.
Greenwell told the Inquirer that the company that owns the Flyers, Comcast Spectacor, said it looked into the incident but did not have video footage and did not find evidence of any such interaction after interviewing Gritty, “Gritty’s handler” and others.
“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.
Greenwell, who says he won’t renew his season tickets, told the Inquirer that his son saw a chiropractor and was diagnosed with a back bruise.
In his Facebook post, Greenwell added that he sought an apology and payment for medical bills from the team. After exchanging emails with the organization — which he said offered various perks — without a resolution, he reported the incident to police.
Gritty has become one of the NHL’s most popular mascots since being introduced in September 2018. The NHL Players Association voted him as the league’s best mascot in March 2019.
—Field Level Media