An Arizona city councilman has filed a claim against Arizona State University alleging the school’s mascot seriously injured his back when the costumed character leaped on him at a football game two months after surgery.
Tempe City Councilman David Schapira said Wednesday that he’s not interested in suing after the mascot’s prank on Sept. 18 set back his recovery and put him in the hospital for four additional days and led to more physical therapy.
The Arizona Republic reports Schapira is seeking more than $96,000 in damages and an additional $27,000 to reimburse the city for his medical bills.
"I was almost healed from the back surgery," Schapira told The Associated Press. "It's frustrating just having to deal with it day to day, but that doesn't mean I'm mad at anybody. Everyone keeps trying to play that angle, but I'm not."
The Sun Devils’ mascot Sparky jumped on Schapira’s back while he was taking a photo on the sidelines during halftime of the game. The councilman said he was using a cane and just handed it to his wife to hold when the mascot pounced.
He thinks Sparky probably didn't see him walking with it earlier.
ASU officials have already publicly apologized and promised to cover his medical expenses from the mishap. The claim is simply part of that process, Schapira said.
"It's the only way. The state can't just pay a claim to someone. You have to file a notice of claim in order for them to pay anything," Schapira said.
Schapira, who will complete his master's degree in education leadership from ASU next month, said he has no ill will toward whoever was playing the mascot that day. But he might have felt differently if it had been the mascot at ASU's rival school, the University of Arizona.
"If it had been Wilbur Wildcat ... I'd have been livid," Schapira said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.