Gritty Backs Out Of Philadelphia City Council Ceremony, Citing ‘Scheduling Conflicts’

The Philadelphia Flyers mascot has been everywhere the last three months, but he won’t be at City Hall this week.

Gritty, the new Philadelphia Flyers mascot who was introduced back in September, has emerged as perhaps the highest-profile mascot in professional sports. He’s entertained fans at home games, he’s showed up all over town, he’s been talked about on just about every late night talk show, and he’s even emerged as an unlikely political icon, with street protesters including pictures of the googly-eyed orange mascot on posters as they’ve marched through the city. He’s even nominated himself for TIME‘s Person of the Year honor.

However, there’s one place where Gritty won’t be seen in the coming days, and that’s Philadelphia’s City Hall. Gritty has canceled a scheduled appearance this week at Philadelphia’s City Council, citing “scheduling conflicts.” The cancellation was first reported by Stephanie Farr of the Philadelphia Daily News, who described Gritty’s cancellation on Twitter as “a pretty baller move.”

The visit will be rescheduled to an undetermined date, Councilwoman Gym’s office told the local media Monday. It’s not known what other activity came up to cause the cancellation.

On October 25, the resolution to honor Gritty was first announced and adopted by the City Council. Introduced by Councilwoman-at-large Helen Gym and cosponsored by the entire council, the measure praised the mascot as honoring “the spirit and passion that Gritty has brought to the City of Philadelphia and to the entire country, both on and off the ice.

“Gritty has been described as a 7-foot tall orange hellion, a fuzzy eldritch horror, a ghastly empty-eyed Muppet with a Delco beard, a cross of Snuffleupagus and Oscar the Grouch, a deranged orange lunatic, an acid trip of a mascot, a shaggy orange Wookiee-esque grotesquerie, a non-binary leftist icon, an orange menace, a raging id, and an antihero. He has been characterized as huggable but also potentially insurrectionary, ridiculous, horrifying, unsettling, and absurd.”

The line in the resolution about how “Gritty has been widely declared antifa, and was subject to attempted reclamation in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal,” was also agreed to by all members of the Council, including the three Republicans.

Gritty, on Monday, also got a new boss, as the Flyers announced that they have named Chuck Fletcher its new executive vice president and general manager. Fletcher replaces Ron Hextall, the former Flyers goalie, who was fired last month, as the Flyers have not had many non-Gritty-related things go right for them so far this season.

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