Flyers' Gritty under investigation over alleged assault during fan event

Police in Philadelphia are investigating a complaint that Gritty, the Flyers' mascot, punched a 13-year-old following a photo shoot at a November event for season-ticket holders, a police spokesperson told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Chris Greenwell told the Inquirer that his son, Brandon, playfully patted Gritty on the head after the photo was taken and walked away. Greenwell said Gritty left his chair, "took a running start" and "punched my son as hard as he could."

A police spokesperson described the incident as an alleged "physical assault" during a photo shoot, adding that the investigation is "active and ongoing," according to the Inquirer.

The Flyers have denied any wrongdoing by their mascot.

"We took Mr. Greenwell's allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim," the team said in a statement.

Greenwell provided the Inquirer with documents from a chiropractor saying Brandon was diagnosed with a back bruise.

Greenwell said he reached out to the team to request an apology and ask that the team do something special for his son. In an email Greenwell shared with the Inquirer, a Comcast Spectacor official told Greenwell it found no proof that Gritty hit his son, though the official offered to make up for the "bad experience."

After a disagreement over what was said in a follow-up phone call, Greenwell, who said he hasn't hired a lawyer, filed a complaint with police on Dec. 21.

The Flyers unveiled the orange mascot with bulbous eyes to mixed reviews in 2018, but Gritty quickly became a fan favorite and was described as "the toast of the sports world" by ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose.