Ragnar, mascot of the Minnesota Vikings, has been dropped after failing to reach a contract agreement with the NFL team that employed him for 21 seasons. He just was asking for $20,000 per game.
"This offseason, Joe Juranitch’s (Ragnar) contract with the Vikings expired. Since then the team has had multiple conversations with Joe but has not been able to reach an agreement on his role with the team moving forward," the team said in a statement obtained by The Star Tribune
"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."
Juranitch has played Ragnar since 1994, and rides into U.S. Bank Stadium on a purple motorcycle. For years, he's co-existed alongside newer mascot Viktor.
Last year, Ragnar made roughly $1,500 per game. During contract negotiations, he reportedly asked for $20,000 a game for the next ten years. By most calculations, that would be a raise of 1,333 percent — totaling $1.6 million over 10 years.
This past Sunday, Ragnar posted a picture from home, with the game in the background. He was downcast, writing, "It doesn't feel right sitting at home. This is not by my choice...I don't make those decisions..At this point it was made for me. I miss all my fans and your support ...let's all stay positive as we move forward."
Over 10,000 people signed a Change.org petition to reinstate Juranitch as mascot during and after the negotiations.
"The Vikings said no, and, tragically, a man who came here to write his own story, a legend his lineage of little viking boys and girls could tell from under their horned hats and on their menacing-looking boats, a man who believe in the American Dream, has been forced to watch from the sidelines. (That's a sport metaphor, but it's also literally what he's doing.)," GQ magazine commented
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