‘Not Staged’: Florida Panthers Rat Mascot Is Roughed Up By Tampa Bay Fan & Now The Team Is Investigating

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A bizarre incident played out this week in South Florida where Viktor E. Rat, one of the Florida Panthers’ mascots was pushed around by a Tampa Bay Lightning fan and this wasn’t one of those staged bits, according to media reports.

It was definitely not a typical night in the stands during the Panthers’ 7-1 throttling of the Lightning.

You had a rat mascot tangling with a fan and from footage posted to the Internet, this appears to be a one-sided affair.

Florida Panthers management is investigating an incident during Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning where the team’s Viktor E. Rat mascot was roughed up by a Lightning fan. / Twitter

“You guys still suck,” the Lightning fan yells while manhandling the Rat before adding “you suck big rat” before an usher and support staff save the day.

Sports radio talk show veteran Andy Slater, who has broken a few Florida news stories in his day, reports that this was 100% not staged by the team’s marketing and promotions department.

Slater further reports that police “have seen the video” of the Rat being pushed around but the Sunrise, Florida police have not been contacted by the team “so they have done nothing.” The mascot, Slater says, must file a complaint for the police to advance charges against the fan. So far that has not happened.

As if this isn’t bizarre enough, Slater’s mascot source says that the Rat’s “normal handler” was off Monday night and the “replacement didn’t seem to intervene much, nor did the usher.”

Is it possible the replacement and the usher couldn’t distinguish whether this was a bit or the real-deal?

That’s what we’ll need to see from the team’s investigation.

Clearly, the mascot needs to have some sort of code word that he/she can yell from under the mask that the replacement handler understands as the word that means “Help!”

It might be time for the marketing and promotions department to have training where the mascots practice yelling “Help, I’m being assaulted here!” and it triggers workers to know things have gone too far.

Stay tuned. It’s Florida. This one could be just getting warmed up.

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.

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