Since his inception in 2018, the internet, and the city of Philadelphia, have fallen in full-throated love with Gritty, the orange-haired dirtbag monster who represents the city’s NHL team, the Flyers, in the all-important mascot stakes. A googly-eyed Rorschach test with an appearance best described as “discount bin Muppet,” the large orange being has swiftly become all things to all people: Gritty is Antifa. Gritty is the Everyman. Gritty might have decked a kid.
So, yeah: Philly’s NBC 10 News reports tonight that police are investigating claims that the person inside the Gritty costume punched a 13-year-old child in the back during a recent photo session for Flyers season ticket holders. (And no, this story is not made any less surreal by all involved’s decision to continue to refer to the performer in the suit as, simply, “Gritty.”) According to Delaware resident Chris Greenwell, his son took a photo with Gritty, and, yeah, sure, he might have roughed him up a little bit: “He taps Gritty three times on the head, a light tap,” Greenwell admits. But: “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.”
Sadly—for reasons both legal and YouTube-based—no footage of said incident appears to now exist; the Flyers claim that no security cameras managed to capture the sight of a bright orange hair monster chasing down a teenager and giving him what-for. Greenwell says his son required medical attention after the incident; he’s hoping to have the Flyers pay his son’s medical bills and issue an apology, but the organization doesn’t appear to be playing ball. Greenwell noted that “It’s still too early to tell” whether he’ll end up pursuing legal action, but as outsider observers with an interest in both justice, and in seeing Gritty sitting in the witness stand with his little helmet on, we have to say we know which way we hope the winds will blow.