The Tampa Bay Rays have issued an apology after the team’s mascot, Raymond, was pictured Wednesday night holding a sign depicting “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, who was killed by a stingray in 2006. The ever-tasteless Bill Maher commemorated the occasion by dressing as a bloodied Irwin for Halloween that year, which should have demonstrated conclusively that Steve Irwin jokes are not funny.
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In a statement, the Rays made it clear that the sign belonged to a fan.
Last night Rays mascot Raymond was handed an inappropriate sign brought to the game by a fan. Fans are welcome to bring signs into Tropicana Field provided they are not offensive. The Tampa Bay Rays regret that this particular sign was displayed in the ballpark, and we apologize for the lapse in judgment.
Lloyd Johnson, the fan who made the sign, told the New York Daily News that he regrets nothing. “I love Steve Irwin but come on, it’s funny,” Johnson said. We’re more of a mind with The Right Sphere, which called the sign absolutely appalling. C’mon Raymond — we hate to see a furry blue sports mascot lower himself to Bill Maher’s level.