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Gritty vindicated: Philadelphia Flyers mascot cleared of punching child | Sport

Justice for Gritty.

The Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved, mercurial mascot has been cleared of allegations that he physically assaulted a 13-year-old boy, according to police.

The popular orange-haired creature had been under investigation following a season ticket holder’s claim that he “took a running start” and “punched my son as hard as he could” during a meet-and-greet photo shoot in November at the Wells Fargo Center.

But in a news release Monday, police announced the investigation was over.

“That investigation, which has been completed and is no longer active, determined that the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault as alleged,” the news release stated.

Chris Greenwell, the boy’s father, wrote in a Facebook post in December that his son, Brandon, was “punched and injured” by Gritty at an event for season ticket holders and that the organization “tried to bribe me not to speak about it”.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Greenwell said that after a photo was taken, his son patted Gritty on the head and then walked away, only to launch a sensational attack on the teenager from a running start.


Gritty became an overnight sensation when he was introduced in September 2018. Photograph: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Greenwell, who said he has discontinued his season tickets after 22 years, claimed that his son saw a chiropractor and was diagnosed with a “contusion to lower thoracic spine with subluxation”.

“I respect the police’s decision, but I stand by what my son told me and what I saw, and I just want to put this behind me,” Greenwell told the Inquirer on Monday. “Any parent would have done the same if they were in the same situation.”

In a statement, the Flyers said: “We are pleased that the Philadelphia Police Department concluded there was no merit to the alleged claim. The police department’s statement confirms our thorough internal investigation that found no evidence of the described actions ever having taken place.”

Gritty, described in these pages as a “nightmarish frat boy” and “horrifying bearded man-Muppet hybrid”, became an overnight sensation when he was introduced in September 2018, becoming arguably the best-known mascot in sports following a series of appearances on Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

But Gritty’s meteoric rise to fame came with unintended consequences, including his reappropriation as a symbol for both antifa and alt-right groups.

Philadelphia police have confirmed there are no other open or closed investigations involving the mascot, whose official biography on the Flyers’ website admits to “bully” tendencies.

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