Sleeping Man at Yankee Stadium Prompts $10 Million Defamation Suit
The New York Yankees fighting it out against the Boston Red Sox in a 2-1 game at Yankee Stadium would hold the attention of most baseball fans in attendance. But for Andrew Robert Rector, the game was a real snoozer.
A video of Rector asleep in his seat during the 4th inning went viral on the internet after announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk called a play-by-play of his sleeping during ESPN's broadcast. Rector now claims that their commentary and filming his nap was denigrating. He is suing ESPN and the New York Yankees for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Courthouse News Service also lists Major League Baseball Advanced Media and ESPN announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk as defendants in the suit.
Rector and his attorney, Valentine Okwara, of Jamaica, New York, accuse Kruk and Shulman of unleashing "an avalanche of disparaging words… that include but not limited to 'stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid' knowing and intending the same to be heard and listened to by millions of people all over the world." What's more, they further charge, "These unmitigated verbal onslaughts crossed the line between reporting on sport and abuse against the plaintiff without reasonable cause or restraint."
The suit accuses the broadcasters of responsibility for an "unending verbal crusade against the napping plaintiff." Cramming several offenses against grammar and spelling in one sentence, the brief charges: "John Kruck 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."
After reading parts of the suit and viewing the video, it appears as though the comments of the announcers, as well as the attorney's grammar school teachers, might have been misheard.