When the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the Indiana Pacers on January 26, the franchise's mascot, Crunch, attempted to sled his way down a flight of stairs in the middle of the second quarter. The stunt wasn't anything new for Crunch – it's been a staple in NBA arenas for as long as anyone can remember – but it didn't quite go to plan. Before he made it to the floor, Crunch appeared to hit an empty seat in the front row, which then allegedly hit the right knee of a fan.
You can't really tell what happens from the video alone, but here's the incident in question:
According to Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann, that fan was 2016's Rookie of the Year Karl Anthony Towns Jr.'s father, Karl Towns Sr., and he "suffered considerable pain" from the impact. Towns Sr. claims he didn't leave the game because he didn't want his son to worry about his whereabouts, but he couldn't put any weight on his knee by the time the game was over with and had to be taken to a local hospital for an MRI. The reason you're hearing about it now and not when it happened a month ago is because Karl Towns Sr. is considering a lawsuit against the Timberwolves and Crunch for the injury he sustained.
"The elder Towns is now exploring potential legal options," McCann wrote, "including the possibility of suing his son’s team for negligence."
It's a sticky situation. Karl Anthony Towns Jr. is obviously the face of the Timberwolves and is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA. To avoid any future conflict between him and the franchise, McCann believes the two sides would resolve the matter out of court to avoid a legal battle with their star player's father if he decides to file a lawsuit.
Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press tweeted he has seen Crunch slide down the stairs for 20 years and has never seen someone get hurt. In his words: "Wrong place, wrong time."
Crunch is yet to respond.