Guy Shown Sleeping On ESPN Broadcast During Yankees-Red Sox Game Sues For Defamation

(@EddieSzymanski on Twitter)

(@EddieSzymanski on Twitter)

While yes, sporting events are the most important, serious endeavor and should be approached only with the utmost in respect and deepest reverence, sometimes things happen. Sometimes you need a nap, even during a game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. But one fan says the Yankees, ESPN, its announcers and a Major League Baseball organization defamed him by broadcasting his snooze on-air, allegedly calling him “fatty, unintelligent” and “stupid.”

The man is suing Major League Baseball Advanced Media, ESPN New York, the New York Yankees, and ESPN announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk, in Bronx County Supreme Court, reports Courthouse News. He’s seeking $10 million in damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Here’s how it went down: During the April 13 game between the teams at Yankee Stadium, the guy dozed off. That simple action “opened [an] unending verbal crusade against the napping plaintiff,” the complaint states.

With the cameras pointed on him, the announcers allegedly said things about him including “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 …”

Not only that, but he claims MLB then kept it up on its site the next day, the complaint says, all because he had a nap attack, which could totally happen to anyone.

“Nothing triggered all these assertions only that the plaintiff briefly slept off while watching the great game something or circumstance any one can easily found them self,” the complaint states, verbatim.

As a result of the photos, commentary and social media attention, the plaintiff claims he was shown in a false light, that his reputation was damaged and it’s no one’s business if he was napping.

A list of some of the things the complaint says were stated about the napper:
“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.”

Snoozing Fan Claims ESPN Defamed Him [Courthouse News]

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  1. MathManv2point0 says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve been at a baseball game but I’m pretty sure that in the terms on the back of tickets that patrons acknowledged it is a sporting event where they can be filmed and photographed and that they agree to have their likeness used in any material related to the MLB.

    In fact….

    (g) BY USING THE TICKET, THE BEARER AGREES THAT: ….. SHALL HAVE THE UNRESTRICTED RIGHT AND/OR LICENSE TO USE THE BEARER’S VOICE, IMAGE OR LIKENESS, INDIVIDUALLY OR AS PART OF A CROWD, SHOT WITH OR WITHOUT OTHER ATTENDEES OF THE GAME AND THAT SUCH BEARER’S VOICE, IMAGE OR LIKENESS MAY BE INCLUDED IN ANY FOOTAGE, PHOTOGRAPH, POSTER, ADVERTISEMENT OR RECORDING OF THE GAME, INCLUDING PRE-GAME AND POST-GAME EVENTS
    http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/ticketing/postseason_terms.jsp

    I know this is post-season 2013 but I imagine regular season 2014 has similar terms

    • JoeBlow says:

      It doesn’t appear that the issue with the likeness/appearance in the stands is the issue, it’s all the disparaging comments being made. It’s one thing to appear on a broadcast, and another to have your image accompanied by a tirade painting you as a stupid fatty cow representing failure.

      • CzarChasm says:

        However people’s opinions are protected by the first amendment, and it is going to be up to the plaintiff to prove that the announcers were making statements of fact, and not voicing opinions. That’s going to be an awfully high legal hurdle, and in my opinion, this fatty cow does not look like he can clear it.

      • Snarkapus says:

        Then, if that’s the case, he should be suing the posters…and he can’t.

  2. OrionBFury says:

    Is it bad that since the Red Sox aren’t being sued that I don’t care?