KC Chiefs, Raiders, Davante Adams hit with lawsuit over shoving incident at Arrowhead
A video production crew member who says he was shoved to the ground by Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams as he exited GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium last fall has filed a civil lawsuit against Adams, the Raiders, the Kansas City Chiefs and others.
Park Zebley alleges in a complaint filed this month in Jackson County Circuit Court that he feared for his life in the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault and was diagnosed with concussion symptoms. Zebley was also targeted online, he says.
During that Monday night game on Oct. 10, Adams caught two touchdown passes but collided with a teammate in one of the final plays, resulting in an incomplete pass that sealed the Raiders’ 30-29 loss to the Chiefs.
On the way from the field to the locker room, Adams encountered Zebley, a 20-year-old University of Missouri-Kansas City student carrying video equipment for a local production company contracted with ESPN to cover the game. Video shows Adams pushing Zebley as Zebley crosses his path and briefly stopping to stare at him while he lay on the ground.
Adams was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault in Kansas City municipal court. That case is pending; his next appearance is scheduled for June 26.
“A municipal misdemeanor battery charge is not sufficient,” Zebley, a graduate of Mill Valley High School in the De Soto district, said in a statement to The Star. “I’m looking for justice. You can’t shove someone down and walk off like it didn’t happen. Not in real life.”
The personal injury lawsuit names five defendants: Adams, the Raiders, the Chiefs, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and Landmark Events Staffing. Only Jim Rowland of the sports authority responded to a request for comment, saying he had “no knowledge or information regarding the incident.”
The suit alleges battery by Adams; liability by the Raiders as his employer; and negligence on the part of the Chiefs, Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and Landmark Events Staffing, which “all had some degree of responsibility for providing security services during game day to keep unfortunate interactions like this from occurring,” said attorney Dan Curry, who is representing Zebley.
In addition to citing three previous incidents of post-play aggression by Adams against fellow players, the suit alleges Zebley suffered harm as a result of the incident going viral online.
“In the days that followed, media and various fans of the Las Vegas Raiders and Adams discovered (Zebley’s) identity, circulated his contact information, and made death threats against him, as well as other generally vile comments,” the complaint states. “(Zebley) felt concerned for his own safety and sought counseling and stayed away from his apartment.”
Adams apologized, tweeting later that evening, “Sorry to the guy I pushed over after the game. Obviously very frustrated at the way the game ended and when he ran in front of me as I exited that was my reaction and I felt horrible immediately. That’s not me. MY APOLOGIES man hope you see this.” The tweet has since been deleted. Adams was neither fined nor suspended by the NFL for his actions.
A case management conference is scheduled for Aug. 23.
“We’re in the beginning stages of this,” Curry said. “But (Zebley) is looking for compensation for what happened to him, and if a jury has to decide, then that’s who’ll decide.”