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Those costumes can't
hide their shame

Special to Page 2

In case you missed it, Sebastian the Ibis, the University of Miami's mascot, drew a 15-yard penalty during Tuesday's Sugar Bowl when it ran into the end zone to celebrate a late touchdown during the Hurricanes' victory over Florida.

Sebastian the Ibis
Sebastian the Ibis got a little too involved in the Sugar Bowl celebration Tuesday night.
Funny what comes over people when you put them inside a smelly bird costume in front of 70,000 screaming fans.

Think it's easy being a sports mascot? Not only are the costumes hot and uncomfortable, you never know when a new owner will want a fiercer-looking mascot, banishing you to a career as Dopey in the Electric Light Parade. Just look at the career tales of these mascots:

  • Whatizzit? Controversial from his first unveiling, the 1996 Olympic mascot also became an unfortunate victim when the Atlanta Journal Constitution inaccurately targeted him as the prime suspect in the Centennial Park bombing. After initial disgrace followed by lengthy counseling and an out-of court libel settlement, Izzy has started a comeback and recently began working as Slimmo the Starving Proletariat, North Korea's official mascot for its 2008 Olympic bid.

  • Stanford Tree: The conifer sustained a career-ending rotator cuff injury and went on long-term disability two years ago when an environmentalist from Cal Berkeley tried living within her branches as a protest against the logging of old growth Redwoods.

  • The Dallas Cowboy: The mascot lost his job when Jerry Jones bought the team and fired him in a front-office purge. He had a recurring role on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" until the show's cancellation and currently is performing with the Village People.

  • The Charlotte Hornet: Fired for sexual harassment following a naked routine with the Laker Girls, the Hornet rebounded by securing a job in the programming department of the WB.

    Phillie Phanatic
    The Phillie Phanatic rode off into the sunset with a nice monetary settlement from the team.
  • UGA the Bulldog: The Georgia mascot fell on hard times after the school learned he was moonlighting as McGruff the Crime Dog. He is currently working the evening shift as Huckleberry Hound at Knotts Berry Farm.

  • Phillie Phanatic: The popular mascot successfully sued the Phillies under the federal disabilities act in 1996, saying the team fired him for being obese, green and dyslexic. He won a $12 million judgment and retired to a private island in the Seychelles.

  • The Famous Chicken: His act remains popular despite a 1997 Sports Illustrated report that those baby chicks in his "Pee-on-the-Umpire" gag are not only all his, they were all laid by different hens.

  • Goldie the Gopher: Minnesota's mascot lost her job when reporters learned she was writing term papers for the basketball team. She is being considered as a possible replacement for Kathie Lee on Regis Live.

  • Herbie the Cornhusker: Who in Nebraska can forget the inspiring image of this mascot wobbling onto the field during the 1986 Oklahoma game, seizing the reins of the Sooner Schooner and driving it over Brian Bosworth? After graduating summa cum laude in business administration, he moved to New York and traded in his cowboy hat and red suspenders for Brooks Brothers. He recently took over as CEO of General Electric.

  • The Navy Goat: His whereabouts are unknown after he disappeared in shame following his unfortunate role in the Tailhook scandal.

  • The Leprechaun: Notre Dame's scrappy bantam ate his way out of the role, ballooning up to 318 pounds during Lou Holtz's final season. Out of work for three years, he lives in France where he is working on a novel and has part-time work as the Michelin Man and a stand-in for Gerard Depardieu.

    Jim Caple, who writes a weekly "Off Base" column for's baseball page, is a regular contributor to Page 2.

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