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:
One thing is for sure: