I’m a little late on this news, but it seems that there’s been a rash of mascot violence in college sports recently. As a former mascot myself (Towson Tiger, 1987-88), I sympathize with the folks in the fur suits. Nonetheless, I’m starting to think that today’s mascots are pushing things a bit too far.
It seems to have started at the beginning of last football season, when Ohio University’s Bobcat decided to tackle The Ohio State University’s Brutus the Buckeye. Brutus then kicked the cat’s butt:
This really reminded me of the scuffle I got into with the Drexel Dragon once. I don’t know why that little lizard grabbed my tail in the first place, but a quick uppercut to his snout ended the discussion. My call on the Ohio vs. Ohio throwdown is that the Buckeye was right – assuming, of course, that he hadn’t done something ahead of the game that justified the Bobcat’s tackle.
A short time later, the University of Cincinnati Bearcat got arrested (and decapitated, in a cartoon-violence sort of way) after pelting the fans with snowballs. This is an easier one to judge: no matter what went before, it’s not cool to throw things at the crowd. Bad kitty.
A few months later, Commodore Cornelius of Vanderbilt belted a spectator at a basketball game. This one was an accident, though, and as the video shows Mr. C felt horrible about it – he’s clutching his head, grabbing a newspaper for the kid to staunch the bleeding, and so on. Visibility through one of those masks is terrible, so one has to be careful around crowds.
The most recent case was a bit more disturbing. In March, Goldy Gopher of the University of Minnesota got his clock cleaned by a gymastics fan who didn’t appreciate Goldy’s sense of humor:
During the meet, the University of Minnesota mascot sat behind Douglas Dokken, 60, and started “messing with him,” witness Barry Colthorpe said. Goldy tapped Dokken on the shoulder and ruffled his hair. Colthorpe said Dokken was ignoring Goldy’s antics, but within a couple of minutes, he snapped, turned around and punched Goldy in the face. Goldy froze, but within moments of the first punch, Dokken wailed another, forcing Goldy to leave the area.
Messing with the fans (which is not the same as hitting them or throwing things at them, mind you) is part of the mascot job description. Goldy was doing what he’s supposed to do.
Goldy immediately talked to his supervisor and the police officer who was already stationed at the event. He is not reported to have been hurt, but the mask was damaged. Security personnel arrested Dokken as soon as the meet finished.
“I think it was clearly amusing — it’s not something you see every day,” Colthrope, 27, said.
I don’t know, Barry, if this trend continues it might be something you see every day.