A New York Yankees fan is hoping that a mid-game nap could net him $10 million.
Andrew Rector, 26, fell asleep during the April 13 game between the Yankees and the rival Boston Red Sox. It was nationally televised on ESPN, and Rector was noticed by cameras and talked about by commentators John Kruk and Dan Shulman.
Video of Rector — titled "Tired fan naps in the stands" — was then published to MLB.com and YouTube. People on the Internet made fun of Rector (shocking, right?) and now he's filed a defamation lawsuit against the Yankees, MLB, ESPN, Kruk and Shulman. Rector is seeking $10 million in damages after the "unending verbal crusade."
The lawsuit is a doozy. The Smoking Gun has a copy, if you'd like to read it. It alleges:
"Announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck [sic] 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."
In many places, the lawsuit reads like a jumbled mess, with passages such as:
"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.
"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."
Thing is, the ESPN broadcast didn't say any of the things alleged in Rector's suit. Kruk and Shulman did make fun of him a bit — saying a ballpark isn't the place to sleep and saying he was "oblivious" — but it was hardly "the avalanche of disparaging words."
Instead, it sounds like Rector's suit is including what online commenters said about him, and thus he's trying to blame the Yankees, ESPN and MLB for the reaction in the comment section. That's a precedent that would turn the Internet upside down, if it were to hold up in court, which doesn't seem at all likely.
One part of the lawsuit calls out MLB for using a picture of two men kissing to imply that Rector is gay under the headline "Sleeping Yankees fan cares not for your rivalry talk." However, that's clearly from parody site NotSportcenter and not MLB.com.
Seems like this whole idea is just a vicious cycle. Rector filed a lawsuit because people poked fun at him on the Internet and now, after reading about the lawsuit, they're just going to poke fun at him some more.
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