Many sports teams have bear mascots but that usually involves a human being in a bear costume. In Russia, they just use an actual bear.

Bears are way heavier and way more powerful than human beings but they can do some fun, human-like things. In this instance, a full-grown bear was trained to deliver a game ball to the referee and then encourage the fans to cheer and applaud at a lower league Russian game.

Yes, it’s cute and is good for a laugh, but this might be a bit dangerous. The bear does weigh hundreds of pounds and can maul someone. The bear might be fully trained but it only takes one instance for things to take a dark turn.

Hopefully, because of that, World Cup officials decide not to do this for the World Cup. It would definitely give things a Russian perspective but I’m not sure how a bear would react seeing 80k people cheering all around him.

About Phillip Bupp

News and soccer editor for The Comeback and I occasionally write for Awful Announcing and Freezing Cold Takes. I also do video highlight game coverage for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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