There's nothing wrong with most sports mascots that a shot of Febreze wouldn't cure, but a rogue few have soiled more than just their costumes.
Drunk with the adoration of the crowd, and probably alcohol, here are some fur-suited performers who betrayed the trust of their fans and took to a tragic and/or hilarious life of crime.
The Miami Heat's mascot is Burnie, some kind of sentient hellbeast made of fire with a green basketball for a nose. So what was his crime? Arson? Please let it be arson.
Aggravated Assault. Shit.
Wes Lockart, as Burnie, decided a female fan would enjoy it if he grabbed her by the legs and dragged her onto the court at an exhibition game. Really, what can go wrong with that? It's all in fun, right?
Well, it turns out the woman wasn't amused, and it also turned out she was Yvonne Gil Bonar de Rebollo, the wife of a local Supreme Court justice. He was, not surprisingly, equally unamused.
Burnie was charged with aggravated assault and battery (although the aggravated part is unclear--maybe because being assaulted by a costumed mascot is extra humiliating). The pair sued for--wait for it-- one million dollars.
She was eventually awarded $50,000, which fortunately for her the team has to pay, since it's hard to imagine someone working as a sports mascot having 50 grand on hand at any given time.
We've lumped together Reedy Rip-It (of the Greenville, SC Drive baseball team) and Slapshot (of the New Jersey Devils hockey team) because they have something in common: thinking that mascots are rock stars and the fans are sex-starved groupies, all anxious for some furry action.
Please God, let me touch a boob today.
Groping Female Fans at the Game.
Reedy Rip-It, AKA Cecil Amick was arrested after groping a woman in the most charming of locales: under the stands. After charges were filed it came to light that not only did Amick have a record, but he previously performed as the University of South Carolina's Cocky. You bet he did.
The Drive were quick to point out that Amick was merely a Rip-It understudy, so we can be thankful that he didn't go on the power trip that a bigger head might have created.
Slapshot (played by an unnamed performer) took it even further, going on an all-out grab-fest. The hockey mascot, who dressed like a puck, racked up three official complaints from disgruntled gropees before getting the sack. The Devils retired the now-creepy character and today have a much-less threatening mascot: the actual devil.
Benny the Bull, mischievous monobrowed mascot of the Chicago Bulls, is one of the most popular mascots in the business. He likes to give something back to the fans on occasion, whether they want him to or not.
Thus he decided to bestow his greatness on the Taste of Chicago event in 2006, a festival where the city's finest restaurants serve visitors from around the world. Benny selflessly took it upon himself to entertain the masses by riding through the crowd on his mini-motorcycle. It's important to note that no one had asked him to do this, as Benny had apparently decided on his own that even the fanciest gathering could be improved by a costumed man zipping around the guests on a tiny motorbike.
When a security guard showed up to tell Benny to knock it off, Benny refused, and continued riding around the grounds. A slow-speed chase ensued. When the guard caught up to Benny (who must have mistaken him for paparazzi), he clocked him in the face, knocking his glasses off.
When the guard turned out to be an off-duty police officer, Benny portrayer Barry Anderson maintained that he was "in character" when he hit the guy. Nothing puts a gourmet food-tasting event over the top like a good "in character" cop beating, right? Not surprisingly, the "it wasn't me, it was my anthropomorphic bull alter ego" defense failed, and Anderson was charged.