Raiders mascot causes on-court controversy

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Ed in Guildford Heat, Plymouth Raiders

Plymouth mascot “Foxy” could find himself in hot water following a controversial incident in the Raiders’ narrow victory over Guildford on Saturday night.

With just three points separating the two sides, the mascot seemingly entered the court and pulled down the shorts of Heat guard Martelle McLemore, to the amazement of the away bench and other onlookers.

The incident is sure to attract attention from the BBL, and will also cause questions to be asked over the role of mascots in the professional arena.

After the game, McLemore’s team-mate Tayo Ogedengbe expressed his disbelief at the incident via his Twitter account (@tayotweets).

He tweeted: “Only in the BBL can a mascot pull down a visiting players shorts in the middle of the game, and the refs do nothing???? ACB, Pro A/B NEVER!

“Never seen anything like it in my life. BBL step your game up for the sake of British basketball, please I beg u, as a English player.

“…(it) should not happen in a professional, premiership environment.”

The Raiders won a close encounter 87-83 to book their place in the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy.

Where you at the game? What did you make of the incident? Leave your comments in the box below.

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40 Comments on “Raiders mascot causes on-court controversy”

  1. ror1975

    I think this article is very one sided. It talks nothing about Martelle assaulting Foxy?? For a proffesional sportsman (McLemore) to walk into a arena like the pavillions and assault one of the long serving volunteers is disgusting. For that volunteer to turn around and pull down McLemores shorts was no more than he deserved. If McLemore had dropped a shoulder and pushed over another player on court he would have been thrown out. Perhaps McLemore will find himself in trouble with the BBL for his part in the episode

  2. rachel

    I wasn’t at the game but I agree with Tayo … We are trying to make people understand that British Basketball is a serious game and pulling stunts like that during a game while a player is on court is out of order. Its different if he is off court and by the bench.
    I love my trips down to Plymouth and think its one of the best venues in the league but that is just poor sportsmanship. Whether Mclemore had done something wrong or not leave it to the refs to report and the BBL to disiplin as they feel nessisary.

  3. Not Surprised

    I’m curious… Did the player push Foxy after his pants had been pulled down? If so, it’s pretty understandable. ‘Foxy’ regularly over steps the mark, e.g. going through ladies handbags & throwing the contents around. I was also at the Pavillions last year when he squirted water in the face of three Eagles fans, and it was not ‘in the name of fun’. I understand one of the ladies complained to raisers Chief Executive, Dave Briggs but no action was ever taken. Perhaps it’s time the BBL took charge & stopped the stupid fox from embarrassing our club further!!??!!

  4. ror1975

    McLemore initiated the whole thing. FACT. The player LEFT the court to drop a shoulder and push over the Fox. FACT. The game was not in play. FACT. It would appear to me that the player wanted to defuse the atmosphere and the crowd and it back fired on him.

  5. Spook

    I have the whole thing on video (and have been looking at it all morning) – and here’s how I personally see things.

    Foxy is doing his ‘side-line run’ stuff.. so basically running between the advertising boards and court (isn’t that area for referees??)
    Raiders do a fast-break and McLemore goes for a block on Rowe at the basket. He gets foul called against him – McLemore walks away from the basket Foxy is ‘waiting’ in the way of McLemore.
    The view what happens next is slightly blocked by a Heat player – but knowing the size Foxy is out of the suit.. he does go down from a small touch like a ‘sack of potatoes’. There is movement from McLemore’s arm behind the player..so I am quite sure there was a touch or some sort.
    Should the player push him, no probably not.
    The mascot then lays down for few second, waits until McLemore turns his back on him.. gets up..runs to the court (few meters at most) and pulls down McLemore’s shorts and runs away ‘laughing’.
    But what Foxy did goes WAY out of line in my view. With the game really on a knifes-edge at the moment.. for a mascot to run and even consider touching an opposing teams player..Out of the question..

    I was embarrased to see it happen in a BBL game – I love the sport and want it to grow in the UK, but not like this.

  6. Pat

    A Plymouth fan defending Foxy! Well there’s a surprise. I used to like Foxy but he has got carried away with his own reputation and thinks that everything he does is totally acceptable. Thanks to the ‘home refs’ this is fairly true, they never stop any of his OTT antics. I presume it is because they don’t want to upset the Plymouth fans.
    Foxy at his best can add to the atmosphere but unfortunately he and Plymouth need to learn there are boundaries. Perhaps a few technical foul on the team would stop the excesses.

  7. observer

    It should be an automatic bench technical foul. That the refs allowed this suggests they should be reffing a globetrotters game not a professional game.

  8. Rob s

    The guy inside the costume should be banned from appearing as mascot again if not outright banned from the venue. Can’t you get it through your heads that it doesn’t matter ‘who started it’ – a mascot should not even be close enough to the court to touch the players, accidentally or not. If you want panto then I’m sure its starting soon in theatres, but why am I not surprised this has happened in Plymouth?

  9. Demonsboy

    Only one way to solve this. What happens if this was the other way round Raiders fans??? What if one of the other mascots in the BBL did this to a Raiders player? Would you have any defense for that guy?? Think about it.

  10. observer

    Rob S : youre not surprised because it has been happening in Plymouth for years and even the refs down there have gone native about it. (all part of the entertainment etc).

    i dont think it is embarrassing for the BBL as a whole, just for the Plymouth raiders organisation. (and the referees who let it happen unpunished). If a fan did that he would be prosecuted, why should a mascot be any different.

    tayo is spot on.

  11. ror1975

    Ok so the mascot shouldnt touvh the play I agree. But the player also has no right to touch the mascot. What would have happened if he had shoved over one of the towell boys or the fans?

    I would assume that if the player had been consentrating on the game and not the mascot the whole thing would not have happened. You cant say the mascot should have not have touched him because it was merely a reaction. If he has done it to anybody else it is assault and no doubt the police would have been involved??

    So why can th eplayer touch the mascot and get away with it???

  12. observer

    the mascots job is to entertain the fans, not incite the players. (the whole basketball world outside of plymouth understands and recognises this)

    he/she is not a participant and should be nowhere near the floor when the game is in motion.

    you want to see a show, go to the west end.

    you want to see a sporting event go watch a basketball game

    Plymouth have their priorities seriously mixed up and as this demonstrates the perception of this holds the league back (when in fact 10 out of the 11 clubs have the balance pretty much right).

  13. Spook

    It will interesting to see if BBL react to this in anyway – the British Basketball fans are sure talking a lot this morning – and I would think the league will take notice (or should anyways). Foxy does many good things – but also does step over the line quite often (personal opinion).
    And would it all have been better if McLemore turned the other way .. yes.
    But if he did push Foxy – yes, that is wrong – but it is then the referees who should deal with it. .and not for the mascot to step in the court to pull the players trousers down..
    If this happened in the NBA.. the mascot would not only be banned but would probably have a law-suit to deal with..
    Waiting for the response from BBL to this matter.. surely they can not stay quiet.

  14. Pat

    BBL- not stay quiet!!!!
    They have made staying quiet an art form over the years! Perhaps that is because their collective heads are never far enough out of the sand!

  15. Sasha

    Let’s keep this in perspective shall we?!

    I’d also like to draw a few things to your attention regarding Foxy, both as a mascot and his position within the BBL in general.
    Foxy has countlessly been referred to as one of the best mascots in British sport – his antics have drawn the interest of many people to British basketball after experiencing the fun of the game. Of course ‘observer’, realise basketball is primarily a sport and that a basketball game is not a “show”, but the added extras (the mascot, cheerleaders, half-time competitions) make it more fun and accessible to people of all ages and to families.
    Foxy’s popularity has clearly not gone unnoticed within the BBL seeing as he is invited to the Finals every year – and every year he has the crowd cheering at his escapades in the dunk competition and, of course, the famous Foxy dunk!
    Foxy isn’t paid for what he does but turns up to every home game and puts his all into it, not to mention all the preparation that goes on behind the scenes, and the extensive charity events he supports and partakes in which often goes unnoticed.
    For every ‘incident’ such as this, there are many, many more I myself have witnessed in which he has reached out to a member of the crowd and in some way or another made them feel special, and made their day. These such circumstances show the true considerate nature of the Fox.

    I understand there are issues being discussed regarding the rules within the game, and I am not criticizing this – I don’t pretend to be an expert on the rules and regulations. But as I said – let’s keep this in perspective and prevent it from being blown out of all proportion.
    Above all, don’t use it as a way to vent your anger and chastise Foxy, particularly via an internet post – a faceless and nameless cowardly attack.

  16. ror1975

    “The mascots job is to entertain the fans”… Not to be assaulted by anybody? You seem to be missing that very important point. He was provoked!!! He did not just off the cuff walk onto the floor and pull down the guys shorts (as the article suggests) Be fair. If one of our players were stupid enough to get involved with a mascot he deserves everything he gets!!!

  17. observer

    he in the confined court area, interacting with the players. Whilst the game is going on. Thats not his job. Is it?

    In any other country it would be an automatic technical foul and bench clearing brawls have started in the NBA for less. Tayos tweet sums it up, these guys are professionals who are playing for their job every time they get onto a court.

    Just look at the picture, what is he doing within 3 feet of an opposition player?

    His charity work, interaction with cheerleaders etc is laudable but is a total red herring in this conversation. Its all about the appropriateness of a partisan non participant becoming an apparently unregulated active participant in the game.

    Bottom line is that it doesnt happen anywhere else in world basketball (or football, rugby etc) but its all right in Plymouth? A reality check is required.

  18. Rob S

    The fact that people such as Sasha are still equating a MASCOT with one of the players in what is supposed to be professional sport as if they have equal right to play a role in the game, is extremely telling.

    Observer is spot on – nothing more needs to be said, other than from the BBL fining Plymouth or awarding the game to Guildford. See how often ‘Foxy’ tries this crap after that.

  19. Sasha

    Alright, keep your pants on!

    Too soon for that joke????

  20. Rob B

    I have not been in the Plymouth arena, but basketball rules clearly state that there should be a 2m restricted area outside the side and end lines of the court.

    Only players, coaches and refs should be on the court or within this 2m resticted area around the court. All other personnel – substitutes, cheer leaders, mascots should be outside this area. Why was the game promoter allowing the mascot to be inside this area? If the mascot had been instructed to remain outside, then this incodent as descibed would not have occurred.

    Referees cannot call a technical foul on the bench due to the actions of a mascot – they can only report this to the game promoter or relevant authority for action.

  21. ror1975

    McLemore left the court and ASSAULTED foxy! If he is so pro and his job relays in this as you all point out what was he thinking? He left the area. I agree with all you all say but on this occasion Mclemore was out of order!!

  22. observer

    foxy spends the whole game in the restricted area (inside the hoardings)

    but he`s a good laugh, so what do FIBA rules matter?

  23. Luker-t

    Sasha you write: ‘Above all, don’t use it as a way to vent your anger and chastise Foxy, particularly via an internet post – a faceless and nameless cowardly attack.’.
    MY NAME IS LUKE OTTLEY
    So now im not cowardly and nameless.. And if you type my name in google youll probs find my FB link….
    So my view foxy or the man inside is a idiotic fool..
    Ive had an incident with him two seasons ago, he thought it was funny to get in my way i asked him to move so he shoves his hand in my face he laughs and runs off probs to take some hypo tabs.. I raise a complaint to staff they shrug shoulders..
    All you ever get at plymouth is a shoddy theatre show not a pro sports game. This incident is a disgrace to a the game the fans the franchise owners and the league .. BBL will no doubt sweep it under the carpet as always.. Grass roots sport grass roots league .. Three letters BBL

  24. Luker-t

    Edit to my post… Just to clarify . What i ment by idiotic fool, his antics saturday = idiotic and foolish and at other times ive seen him act idiotic…. Who knows maybe the guy inside is calm and mellow outside of the fox….
    Observer of course FIBA rules matter they are the world governing body Of the game I assume clubs have to take notice of them???
    Football have to with UEFA and or FIFA

  25. Ross Mac

    For most of the above appear to be posted by people who weren’t present it appears that this forum is being used in a way to settle old scores.

    Having witnessed the whole thing, Foxy was shoved to the ground BEFORE the short pulling incident and there appeared to be no more apparent motive than the fact that tempers were frayed due to the closeness of the game, foul called and Foxy was standing on the sideline next to McLemore who quite clearly shoved Foxy to the ground because he turned and Foxy was stood beside him. Should McLemore have had a technical levelled against him – certainly. If he’d done that to a spectator then he would have been thrown out. Foxy’s “Shorts Gate” moment was a bit of humour. If he’d turned around and lamped the Guildford player in response then you would have grounds to moan. For people to be quoting FIBA, EBBA, NBA etc is frankly embarrassing – just calm down. After all, let’s put it into perspective. Is anyone trying to suggest Guildford were beaten by Foxy on Saturday night?? They were beaten by a superior team, Plymouth Raiders. The Pavilions is a difficult place for any opposing team. Perhaps the cheerleaders don’t play the right kind of music, shall we ask opposing teams to select a playlist prior to warm up??

    The above comments appear to be staged by mealy mouthed apologists probably slightly aggrieved for their own inability to showcase decent basketball in their own town. If you want to take the game back to the 1980′s then steer clear of Plymouth who consistently provide one of the best (best?) venues for basketball in the UK and have done so for many years.

  26. observer

    or maybe they come from people who have significant experience of basketball all over europe and understand that having a mascot standing on the sideline next to a player whilst the game is going on happens nowhere else in europe and is in direct contravention of the rules of the sport?

    Tayos tweet sums it up? He is an athlete not a fan, what is his agenda?

    And that by allowing it (and now even justifying it) Plymouth are allowing another nail to be struck into the coffin of our leagues credibility all over Europe.

    Mascots are prohibited from interacting with players. They are not participants in the game however much they may want to be. The posts emanating from Plymouth (and the Pravda style ignoring of the whole incident by the Plymouth Herald) seem to suggest that everything should continue just as before. That is even more worrying than it happening in the first place.

  27. Spook

    Not sure how you’ve read my comments – but yes, I was at the game, yes, I videoed the whole thing, yes, I’ve had the chance to see it again and again.
    Should McLemore push a mascot – no.
    Should a mascot be close enough for McLemore to be able to touch him – no.
    Should a mascot touch/interfere in the play/players – no.
    Should BBL investigate McLemore – yes.
    Should BBL investigate Foxy – yes.

    What should happen – from my point of view. Warning for Foxy/Plymouth and clarification of where mascots can be DURING game. And also what actions will be taken IF these events occur again (mascots inside advertising boards during game).

    Putting who was right and who was wrong aside – as a basketball fan in the UK.. this incident is really embarrassing for a game that struggles to be taken seriously.

    I am glad to see that BBL is investigating what happened and hope that they will let the fans know the conclusion of it.

  28. Ross Mac

    I agree with some elements of the more sensible debate going on here about player interaction but let’s refocus on who initiated the incident.

    Ultimately, people pay money to come and have a good time and to be entertained. 10 guys running up and down a court has it’s limitations in terms of spectator interaction! You note the majority of those who seem to be complaining weren’t there. Would this story have gained “legs” if Guildford had won? I doubt it.

    We’re losing a sense of proportion here. Basketball’s growth across the UK is largely due to the entertainment aspect that supports the event – one that reaches out to families, is accessible to all, that no other sport right now in the UK can match – do you see entire families go to football matches these days?

    Game night in Plymouth and a number (not all) BBL teams is an EVENT – it’s long since moved away from the halcyon days of National League being played at the local delapidated sports centre. That doesn’t remove the sporting element – things have just moved on. Is football truly a sport these days or has it become a business dominated by money?

    Plymouth Raiders is one of the jewels in the crown for the BBL – they know that and is a template for how the sport is successfully developing. Why else would Sky Sports want to televise from the Plymouth Pavilions? Because it’s good for the game. It is helping to put the sport on the map, bums on seats which helps generate interest and revenue for ALL teams, yours included! The truth is there is no such thing as bad publicity, it’s all just publicity. Should the BBL take action, I look forward to firstly reading with great interest the sanctions imposed on McLemore for his initial assault.

  29. Luker-t

    Alot of posts on here and whatsbev seem to come from NON heat fans people would still be mentioning it no matter what. Fox has been annoying many people for many seasons.. This is steps to far.

    And actually its televideo who video and record the games.. Sky just screen it as BBL clubs pay them to.

    Pavillions along with glasgow, SSP , Sports central, MKs arena, EIS and ECHO arena are used/chosen due to the size of being able to house the camera crews etc and the scaffolding . If other venues had more space/bigger you will find they would be used.

  30. observer

    The last but one post actually explains why the problem at Plymouth occurred.

    The rest of the league has actually moved towards promoting the sport ahead of the extras. The mindset being that if you are hooked by the sport you will come back, if you go for the dancing fox you will soon get bored after a few weeks. Yes you will appeal to a steady stream of 9 year olds but by the time that 9 year old is 12 they will be bored by it and lost to the sport whilst another batch of 9 year olds come in and the cycle is repeated.

    Plymouth is now one of the only places in the whole league that plays music throughout the games. They dont realise that rather than being at the forefront of the sport in this country this marginalisation of the game in comparison with the pantomime actually loses them credibility. The balance is wrong. Some introspection is required

    They can sell it however they want, dancing monkeys, unicylists whatever. I dont care. Indeed the presentation they do is very good prior to the game. But the moment the show impinges on the professional sport going on is a step too far and just demonstrates a serious disrespect for people like Tayo who work all year round at their profession and end up having it denigrated and humiliated by a cartoon fox in search of a cheap laugh.

  31. Toodle pip

    Well said Observer and Spook. These to me are balanced comments unlike the partisan view offered by Ross Mac.

    Should a mascot be close enough for McLemore to be able to touch him – no.
    Should a mascot touch/interfere in the play/players – no.

    Some others on here obviously Raiders fans are obviously content that nothing should happen. If that is the case then the sport as it is in this country should just pack up now. Let’s face it there have been several comments in the past about this “mascot” who is either a young kid or extremely immature. I have to say I suspect the latter.

    This would not happen in any other professional sport in this country. Action needs to be taken. This is Olympic year and we are supposed to be promoting how far the sport has developed in GB.

    Would this kind of behaviour be allowed in the Olympics – of course it wouldn’t . We should now be promoting the sport ahead of superfluous things such as a Cartoon Fox.

  32. observer

    It actually goes to a fundamental point as to how the BBL (outside of plymouth clearly) is positioning itself.

    The light shows and presentations are now done in virtually every venue (certainly Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Cheshire, Worcester, Guildford, and Durham). Most clubs have now got unlined courts which they lay down and a number have banners, posters on the wall creating a college feel. Newcastle and Guildford have big screen video presentations (a la the NBA). Only Plymouth play running music (ie not jingles) during the game, something which is also against FIBA rules. The other clubs have worked out that the playing of artificial noise actually keeps their crowds out of the game and is detrimental to home advantage. It is another area where Plymouth is (rather than being in the vanguard) actually out of step with the rest of the teams.

    And yet outside of Guildford none of the other clubs such as Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cheshire (which are equally as successful in drawing family audiences as Plymouth) have mascots and Guildfords mascot (scorcher) is actually an example of how it should be done being unobtrusive to the players but interacting positively with the fans. For a while both Sheffield and Newcastle had mascots (I think eagles was called swoop), they were phased out and no-one misses them any more.

    This is because after 25 years of selling everything apart from the basketball (and thus cheapening the basketball in the process) the league has woken up to the fact that the kids should be educated about the game and encouraged to look up to their favourite player as opposed to a bloke in an animal suit.

    When the people at Plymouth realise this (and to be fair their geographical isolation may have contributed to this) then their product will be improved and the league will not be put in the position that it was this week-end.

  33. Sonjel

    If Plymouth think putting on a ‘Flash’ show as an opener to the game is what attracts the fans then that is up to them. However, once that ball is in play the game should be about 10 players entertaining the fans for 40 minutes not the antics of some individual in an animal suit who has absolutely nothing to do with the play. If he does do a lot of good work for charity then that is to be applauded but I’m afraid that his behaviour at times is way over the top.

    I wasn’t at this game and so haven’t seen the incident but Spook’s video clearly shows him inside the advertising boards at several points during the game. HE SHOULD NOT BE THERE!! It is a distraction but most importantly it extremely dangerous both for him and the players.

  34. Rob S

    Again, Observer is absolutely bang on with his comments. Nothing more needs to be said other than:

    “10 guys running up and down a court has it’s limitations in terms of spectator interaction!”

    A template for the game? More like an epitaph.

  35. Luker-t

    observer and rob s true words… BUT the problem is plymouth fans are oblivious to what a pro game night is or should be….. And quite clearly so are the management and its darn mascot…

  36. Nickie

    Luker-T

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Your mascot has soaked visiting fans by spraying a bottle of Coke over them and has also thrown a hot pizza at an away fan that caught the person on the hand.

  37. Luker-t

    Nickie weve a new guy inside scorcher now and has been praised by bbl officials and an overseas official who visited last season praised him go scorch

  38. Nickie

    You mean Scorcher’s not real????????????????

  39. Speights

    That’s foxy’s problem – he thinks he is

  40. observer

    interesting that on sky now the refs still permit the fox to run across the court at a timeout and join in the raiders huddle : if he can do that why cant he be Td?

    Looks like nothing has changed. Discuss

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