Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty is under investigation for allegedly punching a 13-year-old boy at a fan event.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Christian Hetrick, Chris Greenwell said he and his son, Brandon, had a photo taken with Gritty at an event for season-ticket holders, after which the mascot hit Brandon in the back: "In Greenwell's telling, Brandon playfully patted the mascot on the head after the photo was taken. As Brandon walked away, Gritty got out of his chair, 'took a running start,' and 'punched my son as hard as he could,' Greenwell said Wednesday."
Comcast Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers, said it didn't have any video of the alleged incident but interviewed a team employee who worked alongside Gritty. The company was unable to verify the story.
Hetrick also shared an email to Greenwell from Laurie Kleinman, the vice president of risk management at Comcast Spectacor:
"I have investigated your allegations and cannot identify anyone who witnessed the incident as you described it. It is unfortunate that you and your son had a bad experience at our Gritty Photo Event. Therefore, we are offering an opportunity to discuss a creative way to restore your son's love of the Philadelphia Flyers."
After hearing from the company and not feeling satisfied with its response, Greenwell contacted police about the alleged punched. Hetrick confirmed with Philadelphia police that authorities are also looking into the matter, which they described as an alleged "physical assault."
The Flyers unveiled Gritty in September 2018. While many fans were initially puzzled by his general appearance, he quickly became a viral sensation.
The mascot most recently mocked the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal during Philadelphia's 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.