Yankees Fan Caught on Camera Sleeping During Game Sues ESPN for Defamation

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 7 2014 5:47 PM

Yankees Fan Caught on Camera Sleeping During Game Sues ESPN for Defamation

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Zzzzs.

Screenshot ESPN Broadcast

In a move that seems akin to suing the “Kiss Cam” for sexual harassment, a fan caught napping on camera during a recent Yankees-Red Sox game is suing ESPN for defamation for its coverage of his power nap. More specifically, 26-year-old Andrew Rector is seeking $10 million in damages from ESPN because the network’s cameras caught Rector snoozing in the stands and, according to the complaint, “opened an unending verbal crusade against the napping plaintiff.”

The story of this bit of nonsensical litigiousness comes to the world via the Smoking Gun. Here’s more:

ESPN announcer Dan Shulman referred to the sleeping fan as “oblivious,” while John Kruk, the network’s color commentator, noted that the ballpark was “not the place you come to sleep…” Rector’s lawsuit, which was first reported by Courthouse News Service, also names the Yankees and Major League Baseball as defendants. MLB is being sued for including video of Rector snoozing as part of the Sunday night game's highlights package uploaded to mlb.com. The video apparently prompted viewers to post comments mocking Rector for falling asleep during the game. Strangely, the lawsuit attributes these online putdowns to Shulman and Kruk. The announcers, the complaint alleges, used words like “stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid” to disparage Rector, who works for a Bronx-based auto leasing firm.
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However, Deadpsin points out, “Shulman and Kruk never said any of those things about Rector during the broadcast. It seems that what has happened here is that Rector has mistaken mean internet comments for ESPN- and MLB-endorsed defamation.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.