FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
On March 21, 2023, the NBA team Orlando Magic played opponent Washington Wizards at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.
Plaintiff and his friend, purchased courtside seats and attended the game.
After their loss to the Magic, the Washington Wizards players entered the visitors’ tunnel.
The Plaintiff and other fans with courtside seats were allowed to wait behind a barrier inside the visitors tunnel, where they could interact with the players as they walked by.
A cell phone video captured the following events that took place inside the tunnel:
As the Wizards players passed by, Plaintiff shook hands with the players and congratulated them on a good game, despite the Wizards’ loss.
Bradley Beal walked past the fans without interacting with them.
After Beal walked about 20 feet past the Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s friend made a joking remark in Beal’s direction about losing a bet on the game.
Beal stopped, turned around, walked back toward Plaintiff and struck Plaintiff from behind on his head, knocking his hat off.
Plaintiff was stunned, and immediately and repeatedly told BEAL that he did not make the comment. Not only did BEAL ignore Plaintiff’s claims of innocence, but he also ignored the fact that Plaintiff’s friend took responsibility for the comment and apologized.
Beal continued to bully Plaintiff by threatening, intimidating and humiliating him, without regard to the surrounding fans, which comprised of children, their parents and elderly adults.
With his hands firmly on the barrier directly in front of and mere inches from Plaintiff and his friend, Beal taunted them with comments such as, “When I hear disrespect I’m going to press it. Do you think this is a joke, do you think this is a joke, do you think this is a joke, I’m talking to you and you… do you think this is a joke….because when I press you about it, what are we doing? What are we doing? What are we doing?”
Beal was then escorted away by a member of the Washington Wizards staff, who prior to separating Beal, stood and watched the altercation playout directly in front of him.
Beal’s conduct felt threatening and embarrassing to Plaintiff who was trapped behind the barrier and surrounded by fans.
The Washington Wizards failed to protect the Plaintiff from their ballplayer who initiated the physical altercation.
“We brought this action in order to address the reckless and dangerous behavior of the Defendants,” said attorney Edward Guerrette. “We not only seek justice for the assault and battery that Bradley Beal inflicted on our client… We also seek to address the double standard regarding the abusive behavior of celebrity athletes. If the facts were reversed in this matter and it were a fan who laid hands on an unsuspecting celebrity NBA player, the fan would’ve been immediately ejected from the arena, probably in handcuffs and banned for life.”
The lawsuit was filed on April 18, 2023.