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Florida Panthers -- Stanley Panther Sues ... How Could You Fire a Depressed Mascot???

NHL's Florida Panthers Stanley Panther Sues How Could You Fire a Depressed Mascot???

12/24/2016 12:35 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Stanley Panther says he was BETRAYED by his own NHL team -- claiming he was unfairly fired as the team mascot after a serious bout with depression because the honchos didn't like his attitude.

The man behind the lawsuit is Raphael Estevez -- who says he was hired to play Stanley full-time in 2012 and everything was cheertastic until March 2016 ... when he was hospitalized for depression. 

Estevez says he missed a week of work -- and when he came back, he was treated like an outcast ... and was falsely accused of taking money from fans and having a major attitude problem. 

Estevez says he was removed from the Panthers "Energy Team" -- and was later fired in April. 

In the lawsuit, Estevez says he believes he was fired for his disability -- essentially saying the team didn't want a depressed guy in charge of pumping up the crowd.  

He's suing for unspecified damages. We called the Panthers for comment, so far no word back. 

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