The somewhat infamous reign of Barry Anderson, the performer behind the Chicago Bulls’ “Benny the Bull” mascot from 2004 through 2016, appears to have a life beyond Anderson’s time in the Benny suit. Anderson, who retired from the role prior to the 2016-17 season, has been sued by a former Chicago Bulls sideline server who alleges the mascot’s physical ways led to a severe injury, the second such suit Benny/Barry has been hit with as a result of his irascible sideline style.
The incident reportedly took place on one of the more compelling nights in recent Chicago Bulls history, during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, a Bulls win that saw former Chicago guard Derrick Rose hit a game-winning three-pointer.
51-year old Rose Garcia worked as a United Center server during that contest, and she’s seeking $50,000 in damages from both Anderson and the Bulls. From Steve Schmadeke at the Chicago Tribune:
During a break in the action, former Benny mascot Barry Anderson “was running out of control on the court when he injured his ankle,” Garcia alleges. Anderson was limping off the court with help from someone else when he pressed his fuzzy red hand on Garcia’s left shoulder and bore down with his full body weight, according to the personal injury lawsuit filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court.
“He used her as a weight-bearing type (object),” her attorney Lucy Vazquez told the Tribune.
Garcia, who was then taking an order, “immediately felt a sharp pain in her left shoulder and heard a popping sound in the same,” the lawsuit alleges. The rotator cuff in her left shoulder was torn, Vazquez said.
Garcia then felt a sharp pain in her shoulder and heard a popping sound, according to the suit. As a result, she suffered “injuries of a personal and pecuniary nature” and required medical assistance.
Garcia is suing Barry F. Anderson, who was acting as Benny the Bull when she was injured; Chicago Bulls Limited Partnership, and Chicago Professional Sports Limited Partnership for negligence. She seeks damages in excess of $50,000.
Schmadeke at the Tribune reminds that Anderson has been in hot water before, far more so than any other NBA mascot we can recall.
In 2008 a Naperville, IL dentist sued Anderson and the Bulls after “a high-five gone awry” led to Dr. Don Kalant tearing his biceps during a Bulls game. The case was settled in 2010.
And, for those who like to giggle, there is always this:
In 2006, Anderson was in character as Benny when he allegedly punched an off-duty Cook County sheriff’s deputy who tried to stop him from riding a mini motorcycle through the Taste of Chicago.
Here are a couple of highlight packages, celebrating Benny’s work from the 2014-15 season:
No ankle sprains or human crutches appear to be involved in the video packages presented above, let alone high fives gone disastrous or tussles with off-duty sheriff’s deputies.
Barry Anderson and the Bulls, when contacted by the Chicago Tribune, were unavailable for comment.
– – – – – – –