Los Angeles Clippers mascot Chuck the Condor stuck a wet-willy in the ear of a Sam Sachs, a World War II veteran honoured during the half-time show in their game against the Toronto Raptors last Veterans Day.
Sachs is an American WWII veteran that landed on the shores of Normandy 75 years ago. He led a company of men to liberate Europe. The Clippers honored him as part of the Veterans Day celebration by presenting him a Clippers Jersey number 104 representing his current age.
According to news.com.au, Chuck the Condor made a "bird-brained" move as he stuck his fingers in the ears of the 104-year old veteran in front of fans and the nation. It's an insulting action called a wet-willy usually done by bullies.
Americans celebrate Veterans Day every November 11th. It is the anniversary of the World War I armistice and evolved as a U.S. Federal holiday for Americans to honour members of the uniformed services (including the Coast Guard, Reserves, National Guard, and Merchant Marines) that served in combat.
Fans were "shocked and disappointed" by the mascot's seemingly inappropriate behavior during the event. Others argue that it is a mascot's job to do something silly, while others consider it as crossing the line. Mascots are an NBA tradition, and home team mascots perform antics during half-time. Chuck the Condor is a new mascot unveiled only last 2016. Before that, the Clippers is one of the very few NBA teams without one.
Sachs just smiled during the controversial moment. A lot of fans were not amused. They know that a wet-willy is considered an insult, similar to giving the finger.
Some might argue that mascots or anyone, for that matter, has the right to have fun. It is precisely the kind of freedom that Sachs and US Veterans fought and died for. However, when that fun is done at the expense of others, especially a man who risked his life so we can have that freedom, then it is another issue altogether.
Is it a harmless antic by a mascot or disrespect to a bonafide American hero? You decide.