It’s just fine for the people that (cover the eyes of your children) work inside mascot suits to have lives outside of their jobs. It’s OK for them not really to be giant gorillas or floppy 6-foot dogs. It is normal for them to not spend their hours away from NBA arenas spilling popcorn all over strangers or dunking off of trampolines. It’s even suitable for them to, y’know, say words out loud.
It’s also just fine for those men and women to be fans of things or even sports outside of the NBA’s realm.
Is it just fine for them to actively hate the team they’re working for, however? Even if it’s so, so easy to hate this particular team?
On Monday, Kyle Scott at The Crossing Board relayed the work of one Brian Brown, who noticed that the person who plays the Philadelphia 76ers’ mascot “Franklin” had accidentally and briefly tweeted something from his private Twitter account to the 76ers’ nearly half a million followers. Piqued, Brian then tracked down the previous Twitter work of the man behind (or, “inside”) Franklin: Darnell Enrique, a New York native who is quite enthusiastic in his dislike of all things 76ers and even Philadelphia Eagles related. Look at Brown’s screenshot:
Darnell even threw in a few Eagles digs and one “yuuuuuuuck to all philly sports lol”-tweet just to throw down. We love this guy.
These are all perfectly reasonable tweets from a clearly devoted fan of New York sports. If you or I were hired to play point guard for our least-loved rival tomorrow, any number of people could scroll back to find plenty of nasty things we had to say about those stupid faking Indiana Pacers our new employer. That’s what makes sports fandom so great, and if John Starks could even play a game for the Chicago Bulls, then anything can happen in this league.
For the guy behind Franklin to be ripping on the obviously-tanking Philadelphia 76ers, while repping a team that was built to make the playoffs that is currently working with the worst record in the NBA? A team stuck two games behind the 76ers?
This is wonderfully sublime and weird stuff pitched by the most wonderfully weird and sublime league of them all.
Stay strong, Darnell. It’ll get better for both your and Franklin’s teams.
(Hat-tip: Dan Feldman at Pro Basketball Talk.)
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