Gritty’s many fans can rest easy: the famous mascot’s reputation is intact. A formal investigation into whether the fuzzy beast had punched a kid has been closed, Philly police said in a release Monday morning.
Per the PPD, “the actions of the individual portraying the Flyers’ mascot did not constitute physical assault.”
The assault allegations stemmed from a photo session at the Wells Fargo Center held in November. Area dad Chris Greenwell had taken his 13-year-old son there for a behind-the-scenes event, the Inquirer reported last month. Greenwell told the paper that after the shoot with the googly-eyed hellion, the mascot took a running start and smacked his boy in the back.
Comcast-Spectator, which owns the hockey team and the stadium, had already weighed in on the incident, noting that — although there wasn’t any video — an internal investigation found no corroborating witnesses or evidence of wrongdoing.
The father had reportedly been negotiating for weeks with Flyers reps, who’d offered him incentives to make up for the experience, before he got fed up and went to the police. PPD then opened what they said was the first ever assault investigation lodged against the mascot — whose personality is supposed to be that of a bully.
(Of note, there have been plenty of complaints against Gritty’s cousin, the Phillie Phanatic, who is known for physical shenanigans and is considered the “most-sued” mascot around.)
After news of the allegations broke, the #FreeGritty hashtag went viral. Roots frontman Questlove said the story was “the most Philly jawn [he’s] read in a min,” and people from all over spoke up in Gritty’s defense.
According to police, the GrittyGate investigation is no longer active. Greenwell, meanwhile, has reportedly canceled his season tickets. The Flyers are currently sixth in their NHL division, though they’ve won 6 of their last 10.