When 26-year-old New York Yankees fan Andrew Rector was caught sleeping during a game in April, ESPN caught him on camera during the broadcast snoozing and the comments of their announcers may cost the network $10 million.
According to The Smoking Gun as first reported by Courthouse News Service, Rector has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the incident as he claims announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk caused him emotional distress during their "unending verbal crusade":
Andrew Rector, 26, nodded off during the fourth inning of an April 13 contest at Yankee Stadium, and was shown on TV with his head slumped to the side as he snoozed in his second-row seat in the ballpark’s lower level.
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.” Shulman also wondered whether the fan had slept through a third inning home run by Yankee Carlos Beltran (which, Shulman said, prompted the crowd of 45,000 to “stand up and cheer”).
In his complaint, which was filed this month in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, Rector contends that he was subjected to an “unending verbal crusade” by the ESPN announcers. The comments caused Rector [...] emotional distress, according to the July 3 lawsuit.
In case you missed the clip of the Yankee fan sleeping, here's the original video courtesy of MLB.com:
While many who watched Rector being caught in the act found it to be funny, clearly this young man didn't agree and was especially sensitive to the comments made by Shulman and Kruk.
The two ESPN announcers used words like "stupor, fatty, unintelligent, stupid" to describe Rector, the lawsuit alleges.
On top of blaming ESPN, the Yankees and Major League Baseball are also named as defendants in the case. The suit blames the MLB for distributing the video of him sleeping and the Yankees are involved since it happened in their ballpark.
Rector's lawyer plans on speaking on the matter in the near future once all parties have been served, but as The Smoking Gun notes, Rector still lists the Yanks as one of his three favorite teams on Facebook.
Regardless of how this case turns out, it's a safe bet announcers will be much more careful with their words when commenting on any fan shown on live television.