Following the news that Mr. Met flashed his "middle finger" to a fan while backing up into a tunnel, the team announced that they would no longer let that person wear the sacred mascot costume. As usual when it comes to personnel decisions, the Mets are totally screwing this one up, because Mr. Met did nothing wrong.

Let's start with something simple: Mr. Met has only four fingers, so this particular obscene gesture is literally impossible for the beloved mascot. The closest Mr. Met could come to flipping the bird is a Vulcan greeting, which clearly falls under Constitutionally protected speech.

But for the sake of argument, let's go with the conceptual assessment that the bird was flipped. Even if the gesture was rude, let's take a deep breath and keep in mind that Mr. Met did not flip off a group of schoolchildren and move on to a Degeneration-X crotch chop. All he did was flip off a guy in good fun who, if you're being honest with yourself, you would flip off too. Or at least tell your friends that's what you planned to do.

With that out of the way, let's think about the deeper meaning of all of this, because it's 2017 and what else are we doing but thinking of anything but the burning of the Earth. Mr. Met is a New York icon, a mascot who's appeared on SportsCenter, Conan, 30 Rock and in a Daily Show segment that revealed his profane side when the team fired Willie Randolph. In California. At 3 a.m. After a win.

Mr. Met is New York, and while sometimes that means heartwarming subway graduations for college students stuck underground on a stalled train, other times it means casual rudeness because you've just had enough or you're walkin' here. To deny Mr. Met the ability to represent New York in its myriad facets (short of say, Thee Rant) is to deny the very nature of the people you're happy to take money from as an organization.

And of course, speaking of that early-morning West Coast firing of Willie Randolph, you'd be hard pressed to make the case that this is close to the most embarrassing thing the New York Mets organization has been connected to. I could write your eyes off about this if I was allowed to, but let's just link to a few examples over the years. Vince Coleman's fan outreach efforts. That time VP for player development Tony Bernazard took off his shirt and challenged a minor league player to a fight. The time that GM Omar Minaya suggested Daily News reporter Adam Rubin was secretly trying to take Bernazard's job. Hey remember when David Wright cut an ad for a faith healer and then the team said he did it because he was tricked? "I'll show you the Bronx."

Oh or what about the time failson executive Jeff Wilpon was accused of shaming and firing a pregnant employee who then sued the team for sexual harassment. And that whole Bernie Madoff thing, or the fact that legendary smarmy dbag Bill Maher has a minority ownership stake in the team.

I'm sorry, I got on a little bit of roll there. The point is, Mr. Met should at the most face a one-game suspension without pay, and at best should get a medal at City Hall for upholding the values of New York.