Sleeping fan sues Major League Baseball, Yankees & ESPN in Defamation Lawsuit
According to a recently filed defamation lawsuit complaint, Robert Rector claims he was filmed and defamed during an April 13th Yankees-Red Sox game. He demands $10 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Rector, a Yankees fan, fell asleep in his second-row seat during the game against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He has filed a defemation lawsuit against the team, the sports network and commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk.
Game commentators made fun of Rector while the camera showed him sleeping, allegedly using such words as “‘stupor, fatty, unintelligent and stupid” knowing and intending the same to be heard and listened to by millions of people all over the world, including people who know the plaintiff or interacted with the plaintiff in person.
A YouTube video posted by MLB and titled, “Fan sleeps in stands during game vs. Red Sox,” shows Rector slumped in his seat with his eyes shut.
“Did he sleep through the [Carlos] Beltran homer? I mean 45,000 people stand up and cheer, and he sleeps through?” Shulman asked.
“I think it would be tough to, but he seemed pretty comfortable,” Kruk answered. “It didn’t look like he just started to sleep.”
Shulman asked the rather plump Kruk: “Not a cousin? Not a relative?”
“No, I don’t think so, but you never know,” Kruk replied. “I didn’t get a good look at him because of the head tilt. But I mean physically he could be, yeah.”
The rivalry between the two teams is mentioned in the defamation lawsuit. It is called “the biggest in all of sport.” “For decades, millions of people all over the world turn out or tune in to watch these games,” the defamation lawsuit states. Rector, who attended one such game in April, apparently suffered an “unending verbal crusade against the napping.” “In the course of watching the game, plaintiff napped and this opened an unending verbal cascade against the napping plaintiff,” the defamation lawsuit complaint says. Rector claims that when ESPN’s camera caught him, “announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck unleashed avalanche of disparaging words against the person of and concerning the plaintiff. These words, 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 . The defendant Major league Baseball continually repeated these vituperative utterances against the plaintiff on the major league baseball web site the next day. These words and its insinuations presented the plaintiff as symbol of anything but failure.”
Rector’s defamation lawsuit against ESPN was filed with the State Supreme Court of New York. Reports state that the defamation lawsuit from Rector was riddled with typos and bad grammar as well.