ESPN has been sued for broadcasting a fan sleeping during a key match between New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Andrew Rector, a Yankee fan, was caught napping in April during the match. He filed a defamation lawsuit against Dan Shulman, John Kruk, MLB and ESPN after having been made fun of his sleeping act. He was shown on live TV on April 13, with his mouth open and eyes closed. The lawsuit is worth $10 million which Rector demands to be paid for the damage the live coverage has caused to his life.
The rivalry between the two teams is mentioned in the lawsuit. It is called as "the biggest in all of sport."
"For decades, millions of people all over the world turn out or tune in to watch these games," stated in the lawsuit. Rector, who attended one such game in April, apparently suffered an "unending verbal crusade against the napping."
The lawsuit accused ESPN for focusing its camera on Rector while "announcers like Dan Shulman and John Kruck unleashed avalanche of disparaging words against the person or and concerning" Rector.
The lawsuit continued giving details of the alleged abuse Rector suffered.
"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, including people that know the plaintiff in person or interacted with the plaintiff," it said.
Rector accused that the "unmitigated verbal onslaughts crossed the line between reporting on sport and abuse against" him "without reasonable cause or restraint, not just from the literal meaning of all words or statement but from the unexpressed implications of the statements as well as the pictures and captions like "Sleeping Yankee fan cares not for your Rivalry Talk."
Update: We received an official statement from ESPN spokesperson Kristen Hudak on the lawsuit: "The comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast. The claims presented here are wholly without merit."
Watch the video clip which started the controversy:
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