Life sucks, the world is on fire, America is a dystopian hellscape, and about 10,000 people we used to think were great turned out to be deeply problematic—but in the face of all this misery, there are a few pure, wondrous things left that help us cope. Perhaps nothing is as reliably life-affirming as Gritty, our massive, orange, googly-eyed son who perennially looks like he just crawled out of a dumpster. When you start to feel down, it's useful to check in on the Philadelphia Flyers mascot for a little pick-me-up: Maybe he's dancing! Maybe he's karate chopping wooden boards in half! Maybe he's playing with a toddler! No matter what fresh hell we face with each passing day, it's a comfort to know that—at the very least—Gritty can do no wrong.
That makes it very difficult to report this piece of news. Just going to go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off, here: Gritty may or may not have punched a child.
According to NBC Philadelphia, a man accused the mascot of hitting his 13-year-old son in the back, and now the police have launched an investigation. The man, Chris Greenwell, told NBC Philadelphia that the alleged punch happened during a photoshoot back in November, after his son started screwing around with Gritty.
"He taps Gritty three times on the head, a light tap," Greenwell told NBC Philadelphia. "After that, my son walks away. Gritty was about eight feet away from my son, got out of the chair, and lunged at him and hit him in the back."
Greenwell said his son wound up with bruises on his back, and had to receive medical treatment. He complained about the incident to Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Flyers, and asked them to pay for his kid's medical bills, and maybe hook him up with a meet-and-greet with the players—but Spectacor denies the incident ever happened.
"We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim," Spectacor wrote in a statement to NBC Philadelphia.
Greenwell has since taken his accusation to the cops, who, aside from saying that they're investigating, didn't release any details about the inquiry. All we can do now is wait to see what the police turn up, cross our fingers, and pray that Gritty didn't actually hit a child. God, if you're out there somewhere: Please don't let our big orange boy get cancelled.
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