I see almost every bit if silly and stupid quasi-baseball news that one can possibly see, but I somehow missed the fact that, back in April, a fan at a Yankees Red Sox game fell asleep and was captured snoozing by ESPN’s cameras. John Kruk and Dan Shulman apparently cracked wise about him. And, because it was the Red Sox and Yankees, apparently some ESPNNew York.com columnist referenced the snoozing fan in the service of what I assume to be a tortured metaphor the following day.
But like I said, that was nearly three months ago and hardly anyone noticed, right? Well, they’ll notice now, because the sleeping dude is suing ESPN. From Consumerist:
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 . . . 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.
Well, I didn’t have much of a thought about this guy’s reputation before, but I certainly do now.
Last month, Mariners former director of high performance, Dr. Lorena Martin, was dismissed from the club after the first year of her three-year contract. She made serious allegations of racism and sexism against the Mariners in the days that followed, all of which have been the subject of multiple investigations by the team itself as well as Major League Baseball. On Friday evening, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic published an email that had purportedly been sent to Mariners staff members by CEO John Stanton.
The email itself was printed here in full (subscription required) and basically rehashes everything the Mariners said in an official statement on Monday: That the team continues to deny allegations of racist and sexist behavior by general manager Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, and farm director Andy McKay because they are “completely inconsistent with who they are and what the Seattle Mariners stand for.”
Stanton added that no one had stepped forward to corroborate Martin’s accusations so far, and also went out of his way to mention that he had never personally observed members of the Mariners personnel “making disparaging, racist or sexist comments” during two trips to the Dominican Republic. The email concluded with an invitation for other staff members to speak up if they had any differing experiences or concerns about the team.
According to multiple reports from the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, among other outlets, Martin has yet to reveal a number of incriminating emails she claimed to have in her possession, nor has any staff member publicly supported her previous statements on her wrongful termination or the toxic culture within the club. That doesn’t mean, however, that the allegations she made against the Mariners are false, just as Stanton’s claim that he never personally witnessed instances of racism and sexism within the organization doesn’t mean that racist and sexist statements and actions were never made. As Bill pointed out, Martin has likely burned all bridges within the organization and, more significantly, throughout the league as well. It stands to reason that others would feel hesitant to come forward in light of the harsh ramifications that typically await whistleblowers in this kind of situation.
We’ll update this story as it continues to develop.