Minnesota Vikings Part Ways with Beloved Mascot “Ragnar” Over Contract Dispute
On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings announced that they were parting ways with beloved mascot Ragnar, i.e. the guy dressed like a viking who led the team out of the tunnel on a motorcycle before every home game since 1994.
The cause of the split is a dispute over compensation. But before Vikings fans get all angy and start signing petitions (oops, too late), there’s something they need to know.
According to sources who spoke to The Associated Press, it wasn’t the Vikings who were being greedy. Joe Juranitch, the guy who plays Ragnar, was seeking—I kid you not—$20,000 per home game over 10 years. Assuming we’re just talking regular season games, that’s $160,000 per year and $1.6 million in total.
That’s an awful lot of money to pay a guy who’s only skills are (a) having a sweet beard and (b) riding a motorcycle. Especially when you consider that $20,000 per game would constitute a 1,233% increase over the $1,500 Ragnar made per game last year.
Of course, Ragnar doesn’t think he was being all that unreasonable. On Sunday he posted a photo of himself watching the Vikings game at home to his official Facebook page, explaining to fans that it wasn’t his choice:
But come on, Ragnar. You didn’t seriously think the Vikings were going to tredetuple your salary, did you? (“Tredetuple” means 13x. I looked it up on Wikipedia.)
For their part, the Vikings kept things classy in their official public statement:
“The Vikings greatly appreciate what Ragnar has meant to the organization and to the fans over the last two decades. We intend to honor his 21 seasons on the field during a 2015 Vikings home game and we will welcome him to future ceremonial events. We will always consider Ragnar an important part of Vikings history.”
But of course, it was probably the team’s VP of public relations who leaked Ragnar’s contract demands. That’s certainly how I would have played it.
Hat Tip – [AP]