(Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The psychological relationships we have with mascots is disturbing. We’re all conscious of the fact that they’re just ordinary people in costumes, but we let them get away with behaviors that would get anyone else arrested, or at the very least knocked out cold. They taunt us, violate our personal space, engage in uninvited interactions with our children, bombard us with silly string -- all behaviors we’d typically find unacceptable from normal strangers. We'll pretty much let them get away with murder, just so long as they’re killing us with laughter.
So to help unmask mascots for who they really are -- savage, coldblooded Muppets, hungrily prowling cushy arenas of criminal entitlement -- I reached out to former Philadelphia prosecutor Tina Lawson, Esq., and asked her to explain what sort of legal repercussions an ordinary, costume-less person could face if he or she attempted some of the typical shenanigans we’ve come to expect from these furry fiends.
Silly string attacks
Mascot antic: Spontaneously attacking a stranger with silly string in a public space
Real-life consequence: "If an ordinary person spontaneously runs up and down a street or is in an arena and attacks strangers with silly string, they could face several misdemeanor charges including assault, harassment, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and possibly reckless endangering of another person. The charge of obstructing a highway or other public passage may be included if the person has been asked to move on and refuses."
Shaking your naked junk at a stranger
Mascot antic: Provocatively gyrating an unclothed groin in a stranger's face
Real-life consequence: "Provocatively gyrating an unclothed groin in a stranger’s face without consent would certainly land an ordinary person in jail, possibly facing charges of public indecency, lewdness, criminal solicitation, and endangering the welfare of a child (if a child is involved)."
Goin' Rambo with a T-shirt cannon
Mascot antic: Launching projectiles at strangers using a high-velocity bazooka-style CO2 cannon
Real-life consequence: "This type of attack would garner misdemeanor and felonious charges for an ordinary person of assault, aggravated assault, and reckless endangering of another person."
Rippin' around on an ATV
Mascot antic: Piloting a recreational all-terrain vehicle in a confined space while pedestrians are present
Real-life consequence: "This sort of behavior could land the ordinary driver in jail facing felony charges of aggravated assault (if someone is hit by said vehicle), reckless endangering of another person, and disorderly conduct."
The popcorn dump
Mascot antic: Intentionally spilling a large bag of buttery popcorn onto a stranger for amusement
Real-life consequence: "Intentionally spilling a large bag of buttery popcorn onto a stranger for amusement could have the ordinary person facing summary charges of disorderly conduct and/or disturbing the peace."
Eating a kid's head
Mascot antic: Enclosing one's entire mouth over the head of a child without parental permission
Real-life consequence: "Enclosing the mouth over the head of a child without permission from the parents could lead to charges of unlawful touching of a minor and child endangerment charges."
In other words, if a regular person did this stuff, he or she would be shipped off to the state pen. But if that same person were to first put on a giant frog head and a sweaty felt jumpsuit, the individual would be beloved and infallible, freely gnawing on children’s noggins with a grossly distended frog mouth. Adorable, isn't it?