Here's something you don't see every day: Goldy the Gopher messes with U of M fan, and gets slugged in the face. Ouch.
It all started out innocently enough. Goldy was out for a gymnastics meet Saturday, seated behind an allegedly ardent gymnastics fan named Douglas Dokken, 60--who also happens to be a St. Thomas math professor.
Goldy started messing with Dokken, tapping him on the shoulder, and ruffling his hair, according to witness accounts. Dokken ignored Goldy for a bit, then blew his cool.
"All of a sudden, the guy just turned around and punched Goldy in the face," says Ellen Sunshine, a witness to the brawl. "We all kind of laughed because we were so shocked by what happened. And then the guy wound up and punched him again!"
To be fair, say witnesses, Goldy was being a little bit irritating.
"Goldy just kind of kept getting in the guy's space," says Barry Colthorpe, Sunshine's husband. "This went on for two or three minutes, at which I'm guessing the guy kind of snapped."
Fortunately, the angry professor's punches ended up "damaging the mask itself, but not the actual person wearing it," says Lt. Troy Buhta, of the University Police Dept.
After that, Goldy ran off. And when the gymnastics meet ended, police were waiting to talk to the man who'd assaulted the Golden Gopher. Goldy himself did a citizen's arrest, Buhta says, and issued a citation for disorderly conduct as well as a trespass warning banning the math professor from the Sports Pavilion and Williams Arena for a year.
"The whole rest of the night we could not believe that we saw that happen," Sunshine says. "Someone freaking punched Goldy. You have to kind of feel bad for Goldy--he thinks he's just doing his job, and all of a sudden gets popped in the face."
Dokken said today, through St. Thomas's press department, that he deeply regrets his behavior and is sorry. "I should have just walked out of there," he said through the statement, adding that he was relieved to hear that the student inside the costume was not harmed.
The statement also noted that Dokken has taught mathematics at St. Thomas for 26 years and holds a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and that he is a longtime fan of the University of Minnesota athletics who frequently attends gymnastics meets.
Here's the police report: