After joke at Panthers game, 'Catman' to get truck

Updated: September 8, 2006, 8:33 AM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Greg Good, the Carolina Panthers fan who dresses up as "Catman" at home games, will receive a new pickup truck from Fox Sports after an on-air practical joke during a preseason game went awry.

Greg Good
Gary Rothstein/Icon SMIMaybe "Catman," right, will give Randy "Zip" Pierce and his dog Ostend a ride in the new truck.

During the second half of the Aug. 24 game between the Panthers and Miami Dolphins, Fox Sports announcers Dick Stockton and Daryl Johnston started billing a car giveaway as a reason for fans to stay tuned after the teams' starters left the game.

"Now all you fans out there, you might be thinking, 'Well, the starting units are out, we might change the channel.' We're going to do something special to try and keep you here tonight. We're giving a car away tonight," Johnston told viewers.

With 1:56 remaining, the telecast went to a shot of sideline reporter Tony Siragusa standing in front of the 6-foot-4, 340-pound Good, who was sitting in a front-row end zone seat wearing an electric blue wig and black-and-blue cape.

"The car is coming in right now," Siragusa said. "Here it comes. Beautiful. It's white. It's a Porsche."

He then handed a toy car to Good.

Good says he believed the toy was a token of the real car he was to receive and expressed excitement and joy. That turned to anger after Good, who counsels troubled youths, found out it had all been a joke.

A Charlotte Observer sports columnist took up Good's cause, writing a front-page column in Wednesday's newspaper that resulted in outraged fans e-mailing Fox Sports.

That led Fox Sports chairman David Hill to announce he would personally give Good the keys to a new Ford F-150 pickup.

"I'm coming to Charlotte Friday to apologize to Mr. Good for a joke that went terribly, terribly wrong," Hill said.

Hill said there would be punishments at Fox Sports over the incident, but said none of the announcers involved will be taken off the air.

"I take the reputation of Fox Sports very seriously and I don't want it to be sullied," he said.

Good expressed excitement at the turn his story had taken.

"I'm so surprised and so happy," he told The Observer. "I thought all I was going to get was an apology."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press