In 2005, insurance agent Bill Geeslin had the seats we all dream of for a game — courtside. It was Nov. 14 and his Memphis Grizzlies were playing (and would beat) Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
During the game Kobe chased and dove for a ball going out of bounds and he landed on Geeslin, something we’ve seen a hundred times before and since. The kind of hustle we applaud in athletes.
But Geeslin sued Kobe, saying he was assaulted and was left with a bruised lung cavity due to Kobe giving him an intentional forearm. He wanted in excess of $75,000 in the suit and said at deposition he “felt like a human punching bag.” I would say he felt like a greedy punching bag, but that’s just me. And when he passed away two months later (for causes not related to the incident) his estate continued the lawsuit.
Which a judge threw out at summary judgment saying no reasonable juror could say this was on Kobe. We thought that was the end of it. Reasonable minds prevail. Yea for American legal justice.
Ahh, but there is an appeal process. An reasonable minds do not always win in court. The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Ball Don’t Lie picked up the story there and said that while the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said that claims of Geeslin’s emotional distress should be tossed, the claims of assault should get a second look. And so that part of the trial was going forward.
And so, it was set to go to jury selection this week. Seriously.
So Kobe settled to make the thing go away. We don’t know if it was the full $75,000, but the smart bet is it was close.
So to be clear, seven years of time for judges and lawyers because Kobe went after a ball out of bounds and didn’t kiss the guy’s a** afterwards. God bless America and our legal system.
Not to be insensitive to the dead, but as Straight outta Vancouver said so well, you sit in the front row of a game you take on the risk. We want our players to hustle after balls and entertain us by working hard, you sit in the front row you paid a premium to be close to the sweat and the effort and the stars. That comes with the risk that a large athlete moving fast may run into you, spill your beer and knock you over. Deal with it.
By the way, McDonald’s coffee is hot and if you hide out and jump in a tank of killer whales at SeaWorld after hours you might die. And that is your fault, too.