1. On April 13, Yankees fan Andrew Rector was caught sleeping during the fourth inning of a Red Sox-Yankees night game being broadcast on ESPN.
As the camera stayed on Rector, play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and commentator John Kruk exchanged a few mocking remarks, reiterating “this is not the place you come to sleep,” and debated about whether the man next to Rector could be a relative, arguing “physically, he could be, yeah.”
Now Rector is seeking damages with a $10 million defamation suit against ESPN, Shulman, Kruk, and Major League Baseball for showing him passed out in his seat. The complaint filed on July 3 states that the plaintiff received a “verbal cascade” against him, insisting that the commentary showed him in a false light and that Shulman and Kruk published “false statements” about the plaintiff including but not limited to:
“Plaintiff is unintelligent and stupid individual.
“Plaintiff is not worthy to be fan of the New York Yankee.
“Plaintiff is a fatty cow that need two seats at all time and represent symbol of failure.
“Plaintiff is a confused disgusted and socially bankrupt individual.
“Plaintiff is confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.
“Plaintiff is so stupid that he cannot differentiate between his house and public place by snoozing throughout the fourth inning of the Yankee game.”
A statement from ESPN refuted Rector’s claims, stating “The comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast. The claims presented here are wholly without merit.”
Despite this, Rector claims the inflammatory terms provided in his complaint were heard “by millions of people.”