A somewhat bizarre story is unfolding in the Russian Professional Basketball League, with Khimki’s managers saying they were deeply offended by the behavior of Lokomotiv-Kuban’s mascot during their team’s away game in Krasnodar.
The furry and seemingly innocuous emblem moved the Moscow region’s side officials to wrath, which spilled over into a stiff complaint on the club’s official website.
“During the whole game, Lokomotiv-Kuban’s mascot – a red creature Zubastik (Nibbler in English) – obnoxiously flourished its limbs in front of the fans, among which there were many minors. It also tried to tear off the Khimki supporters’ banner,” read the statement.
“The mascot also aimed offensive gestures toward a fluffy toy, The Hedgehog, which as we all know is the mascot of the Khimki basketball club. In particular, it soccer-punched the toy, dragged it, threw it into the basket, and shook it in front of the team’s bench. The performance was accompanied by cries of encouragement from the arena announcer,” the statement went on to explain.
Shortly after, the executive director of the Lokomotiv-Kuban basketball club, Andrey Vedischev, capitulated under the weight of the accusations and officially apologized. He made it plain that an outside contractor charged with entertaining the crowd during the club’s home games hadn’t informed managers about details of the program.
Vedischev also stressed that since he wasn’t actually at the game, he was not immediately able to interrupt the mascot’s performance. The future of Zubastik with the club remains uncertain.