Gritty, the bizarre love-child of Grimace and Animal, has been a cult icon since he debuted prior to the 2018-2019 hockey season. Some hated him, some loved him, but none could ignore him.

Now, the mascot is in trouble for allegedly punching a 13-year-old fan in the back at a meet-and-greet event.

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Chris Greenwell is a 22-year Flyers season ticket holder who took his 13-year-old son to get a photo with Gritty. According to his version of the story, the boy "playfully patted" Gritty on the head after getting the photo. Then, Gritty rose from his chair, took a running start, and punched the kid in the back. Greenwell said he took his son to a chiropractor a week later, providing a doctor's note saying that his son was diagnosed with "mild pain" and a "contusion to lower thoracic spine with subluxation", which is fancy-talk for a bruised back.

Greenwell first contacted the Flyers to complain, saying Gritty wasn't even looking at the camera when the picture was taken. He also admitted it wasn't appropriate for his son to tap Gritty on the head, but still said it was "unprofessional and unacceptable" for the organization to allow their employee to punch a child.

The Flyers deny that Gritty punched anyone, saying there was no video footage or eyewitness testimony to back up Greenwell's story.

Where things get even weirder is that the two parties still tried to smooth things over. Greenwell asked the Flyers to show his son the scoreboard during a game, and let him meet players and get autographs on the locker room. The Flyers made a counter-offer by allowing the son to sit on the team bench during warmups. Greenwell declined that offer, and took his case to the police.

Call me crazy, but I have a hard time believing that a mascot would straight up punch a child. I also have a hard time believing that there were no other eyewitnesses at a season-ticket holder event that could either support or shoot down Greenwell's story.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has even more details on this weird story.

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