|The Panthers asked Stanley to turn in his sweater. (Getty Images)|
That's right, the Panthers got rid of the mascot. Or, probably more correctly, the man inside the mascot suit. That's a first for me.
It's rather surprising to say the least to see a team fire the mascot, especially considering right now a mascot is pretty much the face of the franchise since players can't be used.
"That's strange," former Panthers owner and CEO Stu Siegel said to CBSSports.com. "He's not the highest-paid guy and that's someone you think they'd be using in the community, he's useful in the community. I think they figure they can probably just stick anyone in that suit."
George Richards of the Miami Herald says it's likely the Panthers would rehire the person to return as the mascot whenever the season begins again but in the meantime, the cat is a stray.
There is no word if the Panthers also fired Stanley's own version of mini me, Mini Stanley C. Panther.
It's an easy situation to make fun of as the Panthers become the butt of the joke in the NHL yet again, but really, it's an embarrassment. Since the players and the owners can't come together to agree on how to split up $3.3 billion, the guy in the mascot suit loses his job. Not much seems fair about that, does it?
If you were looking for a face of the lockout, you now have it. It's big, furry and fake but it's a sad reminder of what the lockout is really doing across the league.
Now we leave you with some of Stanley C. Panther's greatest hits.