A sleepy New York Yankees fan is trying to reverse the old adage “you snooze, you lose.” Andrew Robert Rector fell asleep at a game against the Boston Red Sox in April. Rector’s mid-game nap caught the eye of a cameraman and ESPN commentators Don Shulman and John Kruk. Shulman and Kruk playfully joked, “Did he sleep through the Beltran homer? I mean 45,000 people stand up and cheer and he sleeps through.” The jokes continued when the two saw another fan sitting next to Rector and added, “Maybe that’s his buddy and he likes him a lot better when he’s asleep.”
Rector didn’t find the jokes too funny. He is now suing Major League Baseball Advanced Media, ESPN New York, ESPN commentators Dan Shulman and Mike Kruk, and the New York Yankees for a whopping $10 million. Rector accuses the parties involved of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rector and his lawyer, Valentine Okwara, claim the defendants “showed him in a false light” and “damaged his public reputation” in a lawsuit filed at the Supreme Court of New York. Okwara alleges his client was called “stupid” and “socially bankrupt” as a result of “false defamatory statements” by the defendants.
Proving intentional emotional distress is a tall order in most cases. Plaintiffs have to prove four prongs that include proof of severe emotional distress and evidence that the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly among other things. Rector might strike out with this one. Check out the video above and see if this fan has a case.