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ESPN and New York Yankees Sued by Sleeping Fan
Andrew Rector has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against the New York Yankees, ESPN, play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst John Kruk, according to The New York Post.
Rector filed the lawsuit after he was caught on camera sleeping at a Yankees game. The lawsuit claims Rector was subject to an “avalanche of disparaging words” by the broadcasters for sleeping at the game.
The game in question took place on April 13 and it was against the Boston Red Sox. The lawsuit filed by Rector is laden with typos and it claims that Shulman and Kruk made “false statements” that included suggestions he is “not worthy” to be a fan of the Yankees and “is a fatty cow that need two seats at all time and represent symbol of failure.”
The lawsuit also claims that Rector was made to be “a confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.”
Rector claims that he “suffered substantial injury” to his “character and reputation,” as well as “mental anguish, loss of future income and loss of earning capacity.”
Major League Baseball has also been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed on July 3.
A video posted on YouTube by MLB titled, “Fan sleeps in stands during game vs. Red Sox,” depicts Rector asleep in the stands.
The audio from the video is as follows:
Kruk: “It’s only the fourth inning!”
Shulman: “Did he sleep through the [Carlos] Beltran homer? I mean 45,000 people stand up and cheer, and he sleeps through?”
Kruk: “I think it would be tough to, but he seemed pretty comfortable. It didn’t look like he just started to sleep.”
Shulman then poked fun at the man’s size, asking the rotund Kruk: “Not a cousin? Not a relative?”
Kruk: “No, I don’t think so, but you never know. I didn’t get a good look at him because of the head tilt. But I mean physically he could be, yeah.”
According to the lawsuit, obtained by Courthouse News Service, Rector claims that “The defendant MLB.Com continued the onslaught to a point of comparing the plaintiff to someone of a confused state of mind, disgusted disgruntled and unintelligent and probably intellectually bankrupt individual. Nothing triggered all these assertions only that the plaintiff briefly slept off while watching the great game something or circumstance any one can easily found them self. John Krock in his verbal attack insinuated that the plaintiff is individual that know neither history nor understood the beauty or rivalry between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee.”
ESPN refuted the claims of Rector in a statement: “The comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast. The claims presented here are wholly without merit.”
Both the Yankees and Major League Baseball declined to comment on the lawsuit.Fan Sues MLB, ESPN and New York Yankees for Video of Him Sleeping at Game by Jim Vassallo