Since Gritty first hit the scene in 2018, the bold and bright Flyer’s mascot has become massively popular. There have been memes, skits and more dedicated to Gritty, but the latest story out there about the beloved Philly figure paints him in a bit more of a notorious light.
In November of 2019, Chris Greenwell and his 13-year-old son attended a Flyer’s game and went behind the scenes to grab a photo and spend some one-on-one time with Gritty. This VIP event is offered to Flyer’s season ticket holders only.
After taking a photo with the mascot, Greenwell states that his son Brandon “playfully” tapped Gritty on the head. In response, the orange fireball allegedly got up, took “a running start” and punched the 13-year-old in the back as hard as he could, as reported by inquirer.com.
The incident was not caught on video.
The Inquirer reported that emails between Greenwell and officials at Comcast Spectacor, the company that owns the Flyers, stated that there is no video footage of the incident because the “cameras in that area of the center are focused on other locations.” Officials also stated that it conducted an investigation with the mascot and his handler, and neither verified Greenwell’s account.
It was also reported that Greenwell took his son to visit a chiropractor about a week after the alleged incident. The chiropractor noted that Brandon suffered from mild pain, and diagnosed him with a back bruise, or a “contusion to lower thoracic spine with subluxation,” according to documents from the chiropractor, provided by Greenwell to the Inquirer.
Now, since no agreement could be reached, Greenwell has taken the case to the police. The South Detectives Division is running a full investigation into the incident that occurred months ago.
Meanwhile, Greenwell will be letting go of his season tickets after 22 years.
According to Inquirer.com, 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.
The Flyer’s offered to let Brandon sit on the players’ bench during warm-ups before a future game to make up for the incident.
The Inquirer also released an email written in response to Greenwell. “I have investigated your allegations and cannot identify anyone who witnessed the incident as you described it,” wrote Laurie Kleinman, Vice President of Risk Management at Comcast Spectacor, in a Dec. 5 email to Greenwell. “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.”
Kleinman also added in a later email that she disagreed with what was said during a phone call between herself and Greenwell. “At no time did I state that one of my colleagues hit your son,” the Dec. 23 email read according to the Inquirer. “Gritty, however, recalls being hit on the head repeatedly by someone during one of the earlier photo shoots.”
At this time, this is the only lawsuit against Gritty.