Gritty is not just a Philadelphia sports mascot. To some, he’s a political icon. The Flyers’ fluffy orange monstrosity has “become a symbol of progressive politics and resistance to Trumpism” and his imagery has been adopted by protesters marching against white supremacy.
Earlier this month, Gritty added the role of advocate to his resume by expressing support for the LGBTQ community and inclusiveness in hockey. And he did it with his belly button.
In our coverage of Hockey Day on the Hill, several eagle-eyed RMNB readers spotted an interesting detail in our videos of Gritty’s antics on Capitol Hill: a rainbow-colored belly button.
Gritty’s belly button appears to be wrapped in Pride Tape, a rainbow stick tape that has been used by numerous players across the NHL to show support for the LGBTQ community. For instance, members of the Capitals used Pride Tape earlier this week before the team’s Pride Night.
RMNB reached out to the Flyers about the rainbow-colored belly button, but the team had no comment.
Gritty’s belly button holds his squeaker, which he uses to make noise. The belly button has changed colors periodically since his introduction to the hockey world.
It’s been orange.
Photo: Preston & Steve Show
It’s been black.
Photo: Chris Daniels
And teal blue.
And also purple.
Photo: Heather Barry
Back when Gritty’s belly button was purple, Gizmodo wrote an article about the mysterious color-changing belly button. Gizmodo asked the Flyers if there was some significance to Gritty’s belly button being purple.
Only Brian Smith, the Philadelphia Flyers’ manager of media services, replied.
“I honestly have no idea,” he wrote. “If I had to guess I’d say it would have something to do with Hockey Fights Cancer month, but I really don’t know.”
Ah, we love your mysteriousness, Gritty. It’s like you’re saying everything without saying anything at all.
If a purple belly button can be a symbol of Hockey Fights Cancer month, a rainbow belly button can certainly a symbol embracing NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone month.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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