‘Sleeping Fan’ strikes ESPN, MLB, Yankees with $10 million lawsuit

BY Diane Jeanty  July 8, 2014 at 2:09 PM EDT

A sleeping baseball fan featured during ESPN commentary is striking back with a $10 million lawsuit

Commentary from two ESPN announcers about a sleeping baseball fan could be a $10 million problem for Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees and the on-air personalities themselves.

In a lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court, Andrew Rector, a Yankees fan pictured taking a slumber in the stands during April 13th’s Yankees vs. Red Sox game broadcast on ESPN, claims his reputation was ruined when ESPN announcers, Dan Shulman and John Kruk, began commenting on his sleep.

“I’ll tell you what though: how comfortable is that?” said Kruk, while Rector was shown with his left arm extended on seat next to him and his neck slumped to the right immersed in sleep. “He probably won’t have any neck problems tomorrow.”

The narration on Rector’s sleep continued as the Yankees’ Carlos Beltran hit a home run during the 4th inning. “We’ve got to see how long this guy’s out for,” Mr. Shulman said.

The video clip of Rector getting some shut eye was then featured on MLB.com and soon photos of Rector popped up as internet memes with words like “sleeping beauty” and other various situations.

Rector didn’t find the clip funny, however, and claims that it shows him in a false light and that his napping was not a concern of the public. He also claims that the announcers comments started an “avalanche of disparaging words” calling him “stupor, fatty, unintelligent and stupid.”

ESPN rejected the accusations in a response. “The comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast,” an ESPN spokesperson said. “The claims presented here are wholly without merit.”