Nuggets marketing manager Graham Wincott, who handles Rocky and his appearances, said the team’s mascot showing up at the GOP event was “an unsanctioned, unpaid appearance that we had no knowledge of.”
Evidence of Rocky’s appearance surfaced online Monday in a now-deleted tweet from the Colorado GOP’s account. It showed Rocky posing with some of the rally’s attendants at Littleton’s Heritage High. Other high-profile rally goers included Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
So, why exactly was Rocky there?
That’s what Kroenke Sports Enterprises, the company that manages Rocky, met with Ken Solomon, the actor who plays the mascot, on Tuesday “to get to the bottom of how all this occurred,” the Denver Post reports. The company also said the matter will be dealt with “internally.”
“As a sports team, we want to be apolitical,” KSE marketing manager Graham Wincott told the Denver Post. “Two things we never touch on are politics and religion.”
Colorado Republican Party chairman Ryan Call, however, believes that Rocky the mascot has inalienable rights, and that just because Rocky is Republican doesn’t mean the rest of the Nuggets organization is. Call explained in an email to The Denver Post:
“I was surprised and pleased to see Rocky before the rally yesterday, and understand he was there at the invitation and as a guest of a long-time supporter of Mitt Romney and Bob Beauprez. Although he did not play a role in the formal program, it was terrific to see him interacting with Nuggets fans and putting smiles on the faces of people in the gathering crowd before the rally started. I’m sure everyone understands that his appearance in no way implies an endorsement by the Denver Nuggets of any candidate or party. Nuggets fans also understand that even Rocky has First Amendment rights and the Colorado Republican Party stands with him.”
Meanwhile, the public took the opportunity to crack some jokes at the expense of many, including Rocky, the Nuggets, the Republicans and the Democrats. Here are a few.
Rocky isn't that mad at Westbrook for blocking his shot and denying Nuggets fans free queso. Viewed it as "another handout by the Dems."— Nate Kreckman (@NateKreckman) October 1, 2014
Rocky flies down zip line @ Pepsi Center. Takes off his head to reveal: Bob Beauprez who promptly takes away the female fans right to choose— Chapterhouse:Dune (@JohnReidy303) October 1, 2014
The Colorado Rapids mascot is definitely a Democrat.— Marcelo Duran (@guyincognito) October 1, 2014