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Team Spirit?

Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull isn?t the only furry friend who’s run into trouble on the sidelines. The Closer reveals more members of his ornery order.

illustration: Danny Hellman

This past July, Benny the Bull, the Chicago Bulls’ beloved mascot, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly punching an off-duty Cook County sheriff’s deputy who stopped him from riding a mini-motorcycle through Grant Park during Taste of Chicago. It wasn’t the first time a mascot had made the news. If this roster of arrests, lawsuits, and unsolicited beatings is any indication, life isn’t easy for the fuzzy fowls, maniacal marine life, and assorted furballs who roam the sidelines.


The Famous Chicken
(formerly of the San Diego Padres)
Bucky Badger
(University of Wisconsin)
Incident In 1991, the randy fowl grabbed a Chicago Bulls cheerleader and rolled her on the floor, hurting her jaw and elbow. The burrowing mammal “crowd-surfed” into the student section during a 1996 football game.
Upshot The chicken got plucked for $317,000 in damages. James Keefe, the UW student playing Bucky, claims the crowd swept him off his feet. He was fined $141.50, which was later dropped.
Quote “Not only does she miss the rest of the season, but the Bulls went on to win the championship,” the cheerleader’s attorney told the Associated Press. “When you see Bucky’s smiling face you don’t know what the person on the inside is going through,” Keefe told the Madison Capital Times.

  Crazy Crab
(San Francisco Giants)
Harvey the Hound
(Calgary Flames)
Incident This detested foam-rubber crustacean-which fans have made the target of firecrackers, tobacco juice, and urine-filled water balloons-was tackled in 1984 by a member of the San Diego Padres. In 2003, with his team beating Edmonton, 4-0, Harvey leaned over the visitors’ bench to taunt the opponents. Enraged, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish ripped out Harvey’s foot-long tongue and threw it into the crowd.
Upshot Wayne Doba, the man under the shell, hurt his back and sued, winning a minimal amount. At the next game, thousands of fans waved felt tongues in support of Harvey.
Quote “He asked me if I thought they had guns out there,” said Pat Gallagher of the Giants’ marketing department. “And I couldn’t tell him no.” “He might have to wear one of those cones so he doesn’t lick himself,” an announcer said upon Harvey’s return.

  Phillie Phanatic
(Philadelphia Phillies)
Stuff the Magic Dragon
(Orlando Magic)
Incident The woolly green agitator has been in headlines since 1978 for kicking a pregnant woman, knocking down an old man at a church fair, and managing to get his head stolen at a charity auction. In 2004, a fan clotheslined Stuff and put him in a chokehold.
Upshot Millions of dollars in lawsuits-and a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Police stun-gunned Stuff’s 240-pound attacker three times before they could arrest him for battery, disorderly intoxication, and resisting an officer.
Quote Before a 2001 appearance with President Bush, the Phanatic was reportedly warned by a White House aide: “Don’t pull any s@#%.” He didn’t. “Stuff the Magic Dragon / lived by the Sea / and frolicked in the autumn mist / until some drunk kicked him in the knee,” wrote Mike Bianchi, an Orlando Sentinel columnist.

  Spartacat
(Ottawa Senators)
Incident In 2005, the shaggy feline accidentally hit a fan in the eye with a foil-wrapped hot dog shot from an air gun.
Upshot The fan’s eye was bloodied and his vision impaired, but no long-term damage (or lawsuit) ensued.
Quote “I didn’t even get the hot dog in the end,” the fan told the Ottawa XPress. “It landed in the aisle and someone must have grabbed it.”

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