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Fan in Orlando sues Wizards’ Beal over postgame confrontation in arena

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards looks on in the third quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on February 13, 2023 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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On March 21, Bradley Beal exited the court after a Wizards loss and a rough night for him — 16 points on 4-of-15 shooting — when a man allegedly yelled at him, “You made me lose $1,300, you f***.” Beal turned and walked toward a friend of the man who allegedly made the comment and, according to a police report, swung his right hand toward the man hitting the left side of his head and knocking his hat off. Police found cause to charge Beal with simple battery and referred the case to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Now that man is suing Bradley Beal.

Kyler Briffa filed a lawsuit this week in Orange County, Florida, seeing damages in excess of $50,000 from Beal. The attorneys for the plaintiff, Sherris Legal, described the incident this way in a release sent to NBC Sports.

“Plaintiff was stunned [after his hat was knocked off], 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? What are we doing when I press you about it? What are we doing? What are we doing?”

Briffa claims in the lawsuit that he “suffered emotional distress, mental anguish, fear and humiliation, pain and suffering and loss of capacity of enjoyment of life.”

Neither Beal nor the Wizards have commented on the lawsuit.

As someone who spent a couple of years as a court reporter early in his journalism career, let me say the number of cases like this — looking for some cash, maybe out of a settlement out of an incident — would stun people. The deeper the pockets, the more likely it feels as if a lawsuit is coming.