With his team getting beat up on the ice, a Tampa Bay Lightning fan tussled with Florida Panthers mascot Viktor E. Ratt in the third period of Monday night’s game at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise.
There are a couple of videos circulating on social media: One shows the fan attacking the mascot while the other may explain why things got a little out of control.
In a video captured by @pantherman2020, a young man wearing a Lightning t-shirt pulled Viktor’s jersey over his head and swung him over a railing in the 100 level while yelling “Go Bolts!”
He also turned to the ice and yelled “You still suck!” apparently to the Florida players.
The fan also told the mascot “you suck big rat.”
The mascot’s handler and an usher in the tunnel appeared to stand by and watch as the fan continued to grab the mascot and pull his jersey over his head while play was going on behind him.
There was no security or Sunrise Police spotted in the video.
Due to the inaction of those around the mascot, there was speculation among fans that the fight was staged.
It was not.
In another video posted by @David954FLA, the mascot appeared to be holding a white Tampa Bay reverse retro jersey — which he may have procured from the obviously not-amused Lightning fan before the camera phones started recording.
When the fan began pulling the mascot’s jersey over his head, the mascot tossed the Lightning jersey into the crowd.
After things settled down, the fan grabbed what we can assume to be his jersey and headed down the tunnel after the altercation.
”Hey, you got it back!” one fan can be heard yelling down.
No arrests were made as the police were reportedly not contacted.
The Florida Panthers say they are investigating the incident and confirmed it was not staged.
George Richards contributed to this report
— pantherman2020 (@pantherman2020) February 7, 2023
Been seeing a video of “Viktor E. Rat” being pushed around by what looks like a Tampa Bay fan.
In this video, it seems as if “Viktor” throws his jersey into the crowd which results in some sort of retaliation from the fan.
— David R (@David954FLA) February 7, 2023
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