This spring, ESPN’s cameras caught a man named Andrew Robert Rector sleeping for several minutes during a Red Sox–Yankees game. After some relatively gentle teasing, the announcers moved on, but a video of the incident ended up on Major League Baseball’s YouTube page. There people wrote many mean things about Rector — calling him him “stupid, “a fatty cow,” a “symbol of failure,” and “not worthy to be fan of the New York Yankee[s],” among other things — because that is what happens in the comment sections of YouTube videos. In June, with his feelings hurt, Rector got a lawyer to draft an “idiosyncratic” $10 million lawsuit against the Yankees, Major League Baseball, ESPN, and its announcers. This, of course, only led more people to publicly mock Rector. And, based on his decision to discuss the ongoing situation on Friday’s Today broadcast, it appears that Rector still hasn’t learned his lesson.
In response to Matt Lauer’s question about why he decided to initiate a hard-to-win lawsuit, Rector explained:
Put yourself in my shoes. How would you feel if you were broadcasted on TV all over the media? They put me on YouTube. People get to like it. It basically creates a public forum where people could comment. I mean, there’s so many derogatory comments about me that was caused by what they did.
“First lesson, never read the comments,” replied Lauer, who probably knows what he’s talking about. When Rector explained that he felt the need to defend his “reputation,” Lauer tried a different strategy: “But didn’t most of the bad comments start after you filed the lawsuit?” he asked. “If you hadn’t filed it, nobody would have known your name.” Unfortunately, Rector seemed to still believe that he has the right to some kind of compensation for his very modern brand of pain, though he hinted that an old-fashioned apology might “possibly” be enough to get him to rethink the lawsuit. Until that happens, everyone will just have to keep making fun of him online.