Infamous sleeping Yankees fan tells Matt Lauer: ‘I wasn’t doing anything wrong’ (video)
Andrew Rector, the New York Yankees fan who infamously became a viral sensation after being captured fast asleep by ESPN cameras during a nationally televised game in April against the Boston Red Sox, made an appearance on the “TODAY” show Friday morning.
Rector filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against ESPN, the Yankees and Major League Baseball after the MLB posted a video of his snoozefest on YouTube.
The above official MLB video has garnered over 1.5 million views since it was posted on April 14. Hardly surprising.
Announcers Dan Shulman and John Kruk, who made fun of Rector when cameras locked in on him catching some Z’s in his seat, are also named as defendants in the suit.
Rector characterized the aftermath of becoming an unwanted viral sensation “upsetting,” and defended his lawsuit to Lauer in the one-on-one interview. He indicated to Lauer that the decision to sue essentially anyone and everyone who as part of the broadcast was a “spur-of-the-moment thing,” but nevertheless insists that the suit is warranted because all involved “clearly crossed the line.”
“Put yourself in my shoes,” Rector said to Lauer. “How would you feel if you were broadcast on TV and all over the media?”
Rector said after awaking from his very public nap he had no idea what was going on but quickly realized something was amiss when “everybody” began calling him after he went up to the concessions area to get a drink.
He went on to argue that things like falling asleep surrounded by 50,000+ fans while a national television audience look on are commonplace.
“It happens to the best of us,” he said. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Rector was particularly hurt by the hateful comments posted to MLB’s video.
“They put me on YouTube and created a public forum where people could comment,” he said.
“I’m a fan,” Rector said. “I paid to go to that game. I brought friends that were there. I have a reputation as well.”
But was the damage inflicted upon Rector’s reputation so severe that it merits he being awarded a whopping $10 million? Hardly.
After telling Lauer that he and his attorney are considering options for their next move — “I’m going to think about it for the next few days,” he said — Rector did leave the possibility open that litigation may not be necessary.
Lauer asked Rector if a sincere apology from the parties involved would be an acceptable means through which the conflict could be resolved, the man who will be forever known as “Sleeping Yankees Fan” didn’t rule it out.
“Possibly,” he said.
Rector may want to take whatever he can get, even if it doesn’t involve the award of money damages. The lawsuit filed on his behalf has “frivolous” practically written all over it.