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RISD hockey mascot gives rise to controversy

Where could you see a throng of pink-and-black spandex-clad male and female cheerleaders flaunting feather boas and screaming at college athletes, a man in an oversized penis costume sneaking into the crowd to dance, and fans holding up signs with off-color slogans? The Nads, the hockey club at the Rhode Island School of Design, played their final game of the 2003-2004 season at the Dunkiní Donuts Center on April 9, but as usual, there was as much action in the stands as on the ice.

The Nads usually play at Brown Universityís Meehan Auditorium. The game against rival Rhode Island College at the Dunk was a throwback to the glory days of 2000 and 2001, when then-mayor Buddy Cianci, a booster, got the players in the door and directed an occasional game from the bench, and the Nadsí mascot, Scrotie, a six-foot penis, could gyrate among the crowd, no questions asked.

Not so during the April 9 game, the first played downtown by the Nads since Buddyís exit from Providence. His absence was perhaps most felt by RISD senior Bob St. Aubin, who had kept Nadsí games lively for the last three years from inside Scrotie, the giant foam-and-rubber caped mascot.

"Basically, they told us when we got there [the Dunkiní Donuts Center] that if Scrotie made an appearance, they would stop the game immediately," says Nads co-captain Noah Breuer. "Apparently, they had gotten a call earlier in the week from someone threatening to do something if Scrotie was there, saying something like, ĎThey better not have that crazy penis mascot.í If we had been in the lead in the third period, he might have made more of an appearance, but we were trying to catch up."

After falling behind, 6-2, RISD made it competitive by the end of the third period, losing 8-6, to finish the season with an 11-7 record ó a significant improvement from last seasonís 0-16. "We rival any college hockey team," crows co-captain Brian Chesky. "Maybe not in skill, but definitely in entertainment." As if to prove this, the RISD-friendly crowd erupted into cheers ó "Go Nads!" ó whenever either team scored a goal. But did the absence of the Nadsí ostensible star attraction ruin the show?

Not to worry. St. Aubin, clad in khakis and a T-shirt, made a spectacle of himself by dancing with the cheerleaders, crowd, and the players. Disappearing during the third period, he dramatically returned just after the final buzzer, running through the crowd and down to the benches in a new Scrotie costume completed days before the game. (St. Aubin had patched a number of rips and dents resulting from a fight with a fan during a game against Massachusetts Maritime Academy.)

Scrotie didnít get too far, however, and was quickly accosted by security staff and RIC players, and forced to disrobe in a melee near the ice. "I went to take off the costume and somebody hit me with a stick or something, and the costume ripped," says St. Aubin. "All these security guards were all around me, and I didnít even do anything." Commenting on the debacle after the game, a member of the security staff said, "That [costume] is a little bit of profanity, and this is a family establishment."

St. Aubin, who is due to graduate this spring, is confident, though, that Scrotie will live on. "Iím ready to pass on the torch," he says, speaking after the game. "Iím going to have interviews for the new Scrotie next week."

Issue Date: April 23 - 29, 2004
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