Philly Flyers mascot Gritty looking insane

Ever since his debut, Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been the subject of public fascination. From his deranged, nightmarish eyes, to his truly ridiculous, over-the-top-antics, Gritty has won our hearts as the mascot we need and deserve. 

That's why when news came out that Gritty had been slapped with assault charges recently, Twitter was instantly abuzz. The crime? It seems Gritty punched a 13-year-old boy during a Flyers meet-and-greet event towards the end of last year. 

If the image of Gritty laying the everloving smackdown on some random kid wasn't hilarious enough as it is, allow us to paint a picture by quoting the boy's own father. Allegedly, 13-year-old Brandon Greenwell took a photo with Gritty during a season ticketholder event, and then playfully patted the mascot on the head as he was leaving. That's when s*** got crazy because Gritty "took a running start" out of his chair and  "punched [Brandon] as hard as he could."

Brandon's father, Chris, contacted arena officials in the aftermath and tried to work out some kind of settlement, but it appears that negotiations stalled because he's since filed an official complaint with Philadelphia PD, who are investigating the incident. 

Gritty's popularity cannot be understated. Had it been some other random mascot, or even a mascot from ANY other city in America, there's a good chance public opinion would side unanimously with the child. But because this is Gritty, and because this is Philly, #FreeGritty quickly started trending on Twitter in wake of the news:

 Life of a Philly Fan @PhillyFanLife Does this look like the face of someone who would punch a 13 year old? #FreeGritty

 Ian Price @IanPric3 1. Obvious money grab 2. I hope Gritty represents himself if this goes to court and just holds a sign that says “It Me” for the duration  #FreeGritty Quote Tweet  The Philadelphia Inquirer @PhillyInquirer  · 3h A father took his son to a meet and greet event in November, where he claims Gritty punched his son in the back. 2:37 PM · Jan 22, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Keith Carey @keithtellsjokes I've never met a 13-year old boy who didn't at least kind of deserve to get punched, they're all dicks. Stay strong, Gritty. #FreeGritty

Mike Jones @nuttyskadork If Gritty wanted to kill that kid, he would have.  #freeGritty

 Poseur @ATVSPoseur When did Philly kids get soft? When I was a kid, when Bobby Clarke punched a tyke in the face, that kid wore the shiner to school the next day with pride. #FreeGritty

 Bridget Geerlings @bgigglings That is straight up how people say hello in Philadelphia.

Graeme @_graeme_ Gritty was set up. Everyone knows Gritty is for the children. #freeGritty

Kirk Knutsen @kirkknutsen Replying to  @YahooSportsNHL

Morris Animal Refuge 2020 @MorrisAnimal It’s a tough time for mascots. Maybe just adopt a pet instead. We can help:  #FreeGritty #RIPeanut

 JAE REYES @RottweilaNP · 36m What the kid do? #freeGritty

Matt @braceletthrower Replying to  @YahooSportsNHL Everyone siding with the kid looks like this

 The Bear  ⚾️ @NYYanksBear Replying to  @YahooSportsNHL My kid is 13.....there are times I'd love to have Gritty punch him.

Billy Conforto Jr. @kweezy517 Replying to  @YahooSportsNHL Kids got to learn how to block and counter.

One thing is for sure:

4th And Long @FourthLongRadio Replying to  @YahooSportsNHL If this isn’t the most Philadelphia shit ever