Mr. Met, the Mets’ beloved mascot, made an obscene gesture to a fan Wednesday. It was captured on video and soon went viral around the internet.
Mr. Met, who does not speak and never has, has not apologized. But the Mets organization did, quickly, and Mr. Met was back at work the next afternoon, albeit with a new employee inside the large-headed costume.
Mr. Met is not the first mascot to have a moment of weakness that leads to infamy. Here are some other times when good mascots have gone bad:
In 2006, the NCAA fined Stanford University after its tree mascot committed "numerous violations of tournament policy" at the NCAA women's basketball tournament in Denver. The tree was banned from the next year's tournament.
In 2004, University of Wisconsin mascot Bucky Badger was arrested at a game against Penn State by campus police for body surfing through the student section. A replacement Bucky was soon brought out, but the original Bucky was fined $181.
Harvey the Hound
In 2003, Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound was doing his act behind the Edmonton bench when Oilers coach Craig MacTavish reached up and grabbed Harvey's tongue and tossed it into the crowd. A Flames spokesman put the blame on the tongue-less Harvey, saying, "He was in a place he shouldn't have been."
Sebastian the Ibis
In 2002, Miami Hurricanes mascot Sebastian the Ibis was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike (unsportsbirdlike?) penalty in the Sugar Bowl after a vigorous embrace of Miami running back Najeh Davenport following a touchdown. Sebastian was briefly banned from the field by then-coach Butch Davis.
Billy the Marlin
In 2001, a man sued the Florida Marlins after claiming that he suffered vision loss after he was hit by a T-shirt fired from a cannon by mascot Billy the Marlin. The man was not satisfied when Billy sent him an autographed get-well card and signed it with, "Best Fishes!"
The Famous Chicken
In 1991, a cheerleader sued The Famous Chicken after claiming she suffered a broken jaw when the chicken tackled her during a Chicago Bulls game. The Famous Chicken was previously known as the San Diego Chicken -- one of the most famous mascots ever. A Chicago jury eventually awarded the woman $300,000.