Chris Greenwell has had season tickets to Philadelphia Flyers home games for 22 years, which means he gets access to certain perks unavailable to less committed fans. One such benefit was an invitation to a meet-and-greet with Gritty, the Flyers’ infamously deranged mascot. Greenwell brought his 13-year-old son, Brandon to the event at the Wells Fargo Center on November 19.
But what should have been a memorable night with the most famous Philadelphian since Rocky took a turn for the worse, and now Greenwell and the team are in the middle of a messy he said-Gritty said situation.
As Greenwell tells the Philadelphia Inquirer, he and his son waited for an hour with fellow season ticket holders to take a picture with the googly-eyed, manic mascot. When they finally got to the front, they took their photo without incident and Brandon playfully patted Gritty on the head before walking away.
That’s when, again according to Greenwell, Gritty “took a running start” and “punched my son as hard as he could” in the back.
Greenwell complained to the team and the Flyers launched an investigation. Security cameras weren’t pointed at the area at the time, so the team was left to interview people who were present at the event, including the person who was playing Gritty.
“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim,” the team said in a statement.
That might have been the end of it, but Greenwell is standing his ground.
“I know it was not correct for my son to harmlessly tap him on his head but for a Flyers employee to get [sic] throw a full punch at someone with his back turned and hurt a 13-year-old boy is assault, unprofessional and unacceptable for your organization,” he wrote in a letter to the team.
What followed was a month of back-and-forth between the two sides. Greenwell asked the team to show Brandon on the Jumbotron and go into the locker room to meet and collect autographs from players. The team countered with a chance for Brandon to sit on the bench with players during warm-ups.
After a disagreement about what was said during a December phone call, Greenwell went to the police. They launched their own investigation, which is ongoing.
Greenwell says that all he wants is an apology from the team and something special for his son, but given the disagreement about whether or not the battery in question actually happened, it seems that the former may not be forthcoming unless the police find something the team did not.
Until then, we imagine that Gritty, who is known for being a bit of an anarchist, will continue to entertain the deranged sports fans of Philadelphia.