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Another View: Bradley must make the best of beaten-up mascot

Published: Friday, March 7, 2014 11:56 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 8, 2014 12:34 a.m. CDT

The early reviews are in on Bradley University’s new mascot – a gargoyle named Kaboom! – and, well, judge for yourselves.

ESPN commentator Keith Olbermann, as part of his regular “Worst Persons in the Sports World” feature, started with the adjective “horrific” and made his way to Kaboom! as Bradley’s attempt at “terrifying children.”

OK, so Olbermann is a bitter, middle-aged man. Surely Sports Illustrated, a serious publication, would be more measured.

Ultimately SI lamented that Kaboom! – what is it with that exclamation point, anyway? – hadn’t been blown up with the pyrotechnics display that accompanied his introduction, “leaving the city of Peoria hopelessly enslaved to this demon’s despotic rule for the foreseeable future.”

On the bright side, however, “Kaboom has a ways to go in order to match the sheer horror that is the Providence Friar.”

Oh, lower your blood pressure, Bradley Nation. Arguably the first rule of marketing is that if you can’t be good, then be really, really bad. When was the last time Bradley got this much national exposure? Mission accomplished.

To be sure, there can be a tendency to overthink silly things – a mascot would certainly qualify – and Bradley could stand accused of that here. And if you’re explaining, you’re losing the argument. So Bradley shouldn’t. It should instead accept the criticism with the good humor such a trivial matter deserves and run with it.

Indeed, if Bradley plays its cards right, Kaboom! could already be well on his way to online sensation, pop-culture-icon status, the more hideous and caricatured – he does have a passing resemblance to Count Chocula, or maybe Eddie Munster – the better.

Peoria Journal Star

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