Gritty

Flyers mascot Gritty cleared of claim he assaulted teenage fan

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has been cleared of allegations that he punched a 13-year-old boy in the back after a photo shoot, police said.

Chris Greenwell and his son Brandon met the hairy, googly-eyed mascot at a November event for season ticket holders. Brandon patted Gritty on the head after he and his father posed for a photo with him at the Wells Fargo Center, Greenwell has said.

Greenwell said that as Brandon walked away, the person in the Gritty costume ran from his chair and ”punched my son as hard as he could.”

Greenwell, who has said he only wanted an apology and something special for his son, filed a complaint with police Dec. 21. But police announced Monday that their investigation determined that ”the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault as alleged.”

The Flyers said in a statement that they are pleased that police ”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,” the team said.

Police investigating after Gritty accused of punching 13-year-old in back

Gritty
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We have an early contender for strangest hockey story of 2020.

Philadelphia police are investigating a claim that Gritty, the rambunctious googly-eye mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, punched a 13-year-old fan in the back during a meet-and-greet with season ticket holders in November.

The claim comes from Chris Greenwell, a Delaware native and 22-year Flyers season ticket holder, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As Greenwell tells it, after waiting in line for more than hour to meet Gritty for a photo, his son “playfully patted” the mascot on the head before walking away. At that point, Gritty is accused of getting out of his chair, taking a running start, and punching Greenwell’s son in the back as hard as he could. He told the Inquirer that he took his son to a chiropractor a week later, providing the paper with a document showing that his son was diagnosed with “mild pain” and a “back bruise.”

When Greenwell and the Flyers could not come to terms on how handle the situation, he reported the incident to Philadelphia police who are currently investigating.

The Inquirer details email exchanges between Greenwell and the Flyers ownership group, Comcast Spectacor, where he initially complained about the lousy quality of the picture where Gritty did not look at the camera.

From the report:

After the alleged punch, Greenwell emailed officials at Comcast Spectacor, first complaining of the “lousy picture” with the mascot who didn’t look at the camera. Then he raised the “more serious and disappointing” concern.

“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.

During that email exchange the Flyers claim there is no video footage to support Greenwell’s claim, while no witnesses were able to verify the same story. Still, Greenwell and the Flyers attempted to find ways to make it right. Greenwell suggested the team show his son on the scoreboard or allow him into the locker room to get autographs from players.

The Flyers countered by giving him the opportunity to sit on the team bench during warmups before a future home game.

That was not deemed to be acceptable.

That was not the only issue in the exchanges.

From the Inquirer:

But the email exchange soured when Greenwell and Kleinman disagreed on what was said during a December phone call. Greenwall claimed Kleinman told him that Gritty admitted he hit Brandon. Kleinman denied saying that.

“At no time did I state that one of my colleagues hit your son,” Kleinman replied in a Dec. 23 email. “Gritty, however, recalls being hit on the head repeatedly by someone during one of the earlier photo shoots.”

Greenwell, who said he is dumping his season tickets with the team, added that he only wanted an apology and something special for his son.

Gritty is a little different than your typical mascot in how the Flyers have it act. When they unleashed Gritty on the world prior to the 2018-19 season they described it as having “bully tendencies” and being “mischievous.” Everything about the Gritty persona since then has backed that up. There was always the chance that Gritty might fly too close to the sun and get burned.

According to one fan, that happened.

The Flyers insist it did not happen that way.

Now we are left with … this.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

PHT Morning Skate: Fighting Bob Probert; What’s wrong with Red Wings?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Gritty made a special birthday wish come true for a young fan battling cancer. (ESPN)

• The Penguins will be without Patric Hornqvist for the foreseeable future as he hits IR. (Pensburgh)

• 10 former NHLers shared stories about fighting Bob Probert. (The Hockey News)

• It’s time for the San Jose Sharks to start looking in the mirror. (NBC Sports Bay Area)

• The Canadiens have recalled top prospect Ryan Poehling from the minors and they’ve placed Jesperi Kotkaniemi on IR. (TSN)

• Former NBA commissioner David Stern said Alex Ovechkin‘s contract is the dumbest thing he’s ever seen. (NBC Sports Washington)

• Here are seven keys for the Capitals in order for them to win another Stanley Cup. (Nova Caps)

• Subpar refereeing is hurting the NHL’s image and credibility. (Sinbin.Vegas)

• In former NHLer news, Scott Darling has signed with HC Innsbruck of the Austrian league. [HC Innsbruck]

• And Scottie Upshall has signed a one-year deal in Switzerland with HC Ambri-Piotta. [Swiss Hockey News]

• Oilers Nation breaks down Edmonton’s last seven-game segment. (Oilers Nation)

• Should the Islanders keep rolling Derick Brassard out on the wing? (The Sports Daily)

• The Kings aren’t very good right now, but here are six reasons to keep watching their games. (Jewels from the Crown)

• The Red Wings have a lack of talent and they have coaching issues too. That’s not a good combination. (MLive)

• Panthers owner Vinnie Viola is co-owner of Vino Rosso, the horse who won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday. [America’s Best Racing]

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Flyers upping fan experience with ‘rage room,’ Gritty makeovers

Flyers
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Have you ever attended a game featuring your favorite team and something goes terribly wrong on the ice/field/court that make you get into a rage? If you were at home you might throw your remote across the room following a bad call or a tough loss. In Philadelphia, the Flyers are giving fans a unique outlet to let their anger out.

Introducing the “Disassembly Room,” otherwise known as the “rage room” inside Wells Fargo Center, which will debut Wednesday night when the Flyers host the Devils (6:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN; livestream) in their home opener. The first of its kind attraction will allow fans a place to relieve stress through scheduled sessions.

Wearing protective gear, stressed out fans are able to smash televisions and break mirrors using hockey sticks, baseball bats, sledgehammers, and other items. As you’d expect, some items inside the room may feature the logo of the Flyers’ opponents that day. Game days against the Penguins might be a popular time for the “rage room.”

Tickets are $35 for one person and $60 for two people. You’ll have five minutes to get your rage out.

This is the second unique fan experience the Flyers have announced this week. On Monday, the Gritty C.O.M.M.A.N.D. Center was introduced, allowing fans to get “grittified by professional stylists.”

Fans of all ages can become their own Gritty with costumes and makeup, which includes orange hair dye and face paint. Or maybe you want to go all the way and just get blasted in the face with what they’re calling “Grit Powder.”

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Pro Pets: Gritty spends a day with his new pet, Claw’d

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Gritty made a new friend this summer. During a summer stop at the Jersey Shore — and likely in-between his daily routine of gym, tan, and laundry — the Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot found a hermit crab and promptly named it Claw’d after his best friend, Claude Giroux.

In a new NBC Sports short-form digital series that shows athletes and personalities with the animals they love, it was clear we had to see how life was these days for Gritty and Claw’d.

The debut episodes, which are available now, feature: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers tight end (NBC Sports Bay Area); Lawrence Guy, New England Patriots defensive lineman (NBC Sports Boston); Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears head coach (NBC Sports Chicago); Jacob Martin, Seattle Seahawks defensive end (NBC Sports Northwest); Gritty, Philadelphia Flyers mascot (NBC Sports Philadelphia); and Wes Martin, Washington Redskins offensive lineman (NBC Sports Washington).

Athletes and personalities appearing in upcoming episodes include: Elena Della Donne, Washington Mystics forward; Lucas Giolito Chicago White Sox pitcher; Kendall Gill, former NBA player and Chicago Bulls TV analyst; Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman; Shane Lemieux, Oregon Ducks offensive lineman; Zarek Valentin, Portland Timbers defender; and John Wall, Washington Wizards guard.

Check out the video above to see how Gritty and Claw’d are getting along in the first episode of our Pro Pets series.

New episodes featuring different athletes and their fur-iends will be published on the respective regional sports sites each Monday for six weeks. In all, the original content initiative will include six episodes per market, for a total of 36 videos, through Sept. 9.

The Pro Pets short-form episodes will be published and archived on dedicated pages on the sites of NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, NBC Sports Philadelphia, and NBC Sports Washington. The content will also be featured on the networks’ social media platforms, and fans can join the conversation by using #ProPetsNBC.

MORE GRITTY:
Meet Gritty, the Flyers’ horrifyingly delightful new mascot
Gritty’s grand entrance highlights Stadium Series pregame

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.