In 1998 former New York Yankees baseball team’s club house attendant Paul Priore brought a $50m lawsuit against the club and some the members stating that he had been sexually harassed and was fired for being a homosexual.
Priore lost his suit when the Yankees showed that he was actually fired for stealing from the locker room, but he is now planning on writing a tell-all book about his homophobic abuse, which allegedly includes a steam room scene between players Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
The Naked Gun first got wind of the story about a decade ago when they posted the court transcripts on their site, which is known for uncovering some of the oddest bits of news.
Paul Priore had claimed that he was harassed and taunted by several Yankees who called him “faggot,” and had made sexual advancements and innuendoes toward him.
According to his court complaint, which was filed with the New York’s State Supreme Court after winning his case at the trial level and having it immediately over turned on appeal, Priore made numerous accusations toward the team and some of it’s most famous members about some inappropriate and harassing conduct.
In the complaint, former closing pitcher Bob Wickman, who left the club in 1997 and is currently on the Braves rooster, was said to have “on numerous occasions, exposed his penis, rubbed his penis on the Plaintiff (Priore), grabbed and touched the plaintiff’s private parts, and attempted to insert his penis in plaintiffs mouth.”
The claim went on to say that Wickman had threatened bodily harm and had repeatedly called Priore a “faggot” in front of other members of the club.
Also implicated in the harassment suit were Brian Cashman, Thomas May, Jeff Nelson and Marino Rivera who were all members of the team during 1996 and 1997 the time of Priore’s employment.
The club denied all of the charges and said that Priore had been fired for stealing from the locker room and not, as he claims, because of his HIV status or his homosexuality.
On the outset, it appeared that this was a straightforward case.
Either the team had been acting in a prison-type mentality and Priore deserved his day in court, or here was a man who saw an opportunity to get some money and some notoriety from one of the countries most beloved baseball franchises.
The story, however, took some interesting and unexpected turns that made this case not so simple.
The trial court found in favour of Priore, but the decision was quickly challenged and overturned.
The New York Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal of the case.
By not hearing the reversal, the Supreme Court gave a victory to the Yankees.
The sworn statements of those questioned said that Priore was fired because of missing equipment.
Several players did admit to calling him a “faggot”, but also said that it was used in a joking manner and was common behaviour when referring to team mates, opponents and anyone else within the locker room setting.
The statements were not, in fact, made toward Priore because he was a homosexual, but instead were just juvenile rantings of the baseball team.
Priore’s sworn statements went into much further detail documenting several sexual encounters with other players.
Priore alleged a full-blown relationship with outfielder Ruben Rivera in which the two men would have sexual relations in the locker room.
Rivera was later “voted off” the team by the other players when it came to light that he had stolen a bat and glove belonging to All-Star player Derek Jeter and sold the items to a sports memorabilia dealer.
He was removed from the team and later apologised for his actions.
Priore also recalled walking in on Jeter and current starting catcher Jorge Padosa in the steam room together before the three men went to a Mariah Carey concert.
Priore claimed they were engaged in sexual conduct and later in the evening asked Priore if he wanted to join in.
The story was like one straight out of a gay erotica novel and didn’t seem to quite match up with the facts of the case.
After the case was overturned, Priore seemed to drop out of sight until December 2003 when his lover Guillermo Sanchez, a 21-year-old gay Mexican immigrant, was found hanging by a scarf from a tree in New York’s Flushing Meadows Park.
The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a suicide, but his boyfriend, Priore, who worked as a park advocate, suspected there was foul play in the incident.
There was allegedly a letter found on Sanchez’s body written to the attorney for Paul Williams, who was the current grounds keeper at Yankee stadium.
Williams had filed a lawsuit against pitcher Jeff Nelson who had beaten him up during a brawl in the bullpen earlier that year.
Details of the letter were not revealed, but Priore seemed to think that the evidence in the letter would have shed some light on William’s case against Nelson and to keep the information from getting out, Sanchez was killed.
An investigation looked into the bizarre scenario, but no chargers were ever brought against anyone.
Cut to July 2007. Absent from the news for the past few years, the guys at Deadspin.com caught a Craigslist posting by Priore who is now seeking a writer to help him tell his controversial and fantastical story.
The posting reads, “I have many fascinating “insider” stories to tell about the New York Yankees, some of which are rather steamy.”
He is seeking an experienced writer to work “on spec” to help him tell his story and then offers a 50-50 split for any future profits that come in from his tell-all book.
He is also asking that his writer have many literary contacts to help him shop the book around.
It’s hard to say what of this story is accurate and which parts are the creations of a somewhat suspect mind, but one thing does stand true.
There is interest in the going on’s of professional sports teams, and this is not the first or last time that the sexuality of athletes will be questioned.
There is so much more about the lives of celebrities that the public will never know, and in most cases, who would really want to?
Dylan Vox – 2007 GaySports.com; All Rights Reserved.