U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

KC photographer shoved to ground by NFL player after game

Incident Details

Date of Incident
October 10, 2022
Case number
Case Status
Type of case


Public figure
Was the journalist targeted?
June 5, 2023 - Update

Assault charge dropped against NFL player who shoved photographer

The charge against Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, accused of assaulting photographer Park Zebley in October 2022, has been dropped, according to the Kansas City Star.

Adams was initially charged in Kansas City Municipal Court after he was recorded shoving Zebley to the ground following a game in Missouri. Zebley was working for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” as a freelance photographer when the incident occurred, ESPN reported.

The prosecutor dismissed the misdemeanor assault charge on June 5, 2023, according to the Star. Adams’ attorney declined to comment to the outlet.

Separately, Zebley, who had earlier claimed to have suffered whiplash and a concussion, according to his attorney, filed a personal injury lawsuit against Adams in May. The case is still pending in Jackson County Circuit Court, with a hearing scheduled August 23.

May 2, 2023 - Update

Photographer files lawsuit against NFL player, teams following assault

Photographer Park Zebley filed a personal injury lawsuit against Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams and others on May 2, 2023, after Adams shoved the journalist to the ground in October 2022.

Following a Raiders loss against the Kansas City Chiefs during a game in Missouri, Adams was filmed pushing Zebley with two hands and staring at him as he fell to the ground. The NFL did not suspend or fine Adams for his actions, but he was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault by Kansas City authorities. Those charges are pending, and a hearing is scheduled for June 26.

Zebley’s lawsuit alleges battery by Adams; liability by the Raiders; and negligence on the part of the Chiefs, stadium management and the company responsible for event security, according to The Kansas City Star.

“A municipal misdemeanor battery charge is not sufficient,” Zebley 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.”

A case management conference for the suit is scheduled for Aug. 23.

October 10, 2022

Photographer Park Zebley was shoved to the ground by Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams after a Monday Night Football game in Kansas City, Missouri, on Oct. 10, 2022.

In footage published by SportsCenter and shared widely, Adams can be seen pushing Zebley with two hands following a 30-29 Raiders loss.

When reached by email, Zebley declined to comment and referred the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker to his attorney, Dan Curry. Curry said Zebley is a college student who had just started working for a local production company that provides content to ESPN. He did not identify the name of the production company.

In a written statement, Curry said it was the photographer’s first day on the job and he had been given the task of carrying equipment for a camera operator.

After arranging transportation to the hospital, Zebley filed a police report with the Kansas City Police Department. In an emailed statement to the Tracker, a KCPD spokesperson said Zebley’s injuries were thought to be non-life threatening and the incident is being investigated.

Zebley’s attorney confirmed that the photographer suffered a headache, whiplash and was still recovering from a concussion.

After the incident, Adams apologized for his behavior, saying he was frustrated by the loss and was surprised when Zebley “jumped” in front of him, ESPN reported.

A Kansas City Municipal Court public information officer told the Tracker that Adams was charged with assault under a city ordinance on Oct. 12. According to the ordinance, he faces up to six months of jail time or a fine of up to $500. The citation, also shared with the Tracker by KCPD, identifies him as Ryan Zebley. His attorney said Park is his name.

The Raiders receiver is also facing possible suspension from the NFL, according to ESPN. He is scheduled to appear in Kansas City Municipal Court on Nov. 10.

“What happened was egregiously unsportsmanlike and an act of violence that should not be excused by the NFL,” Zebley said in a statement provided by his attorney.

Editor’s note: The article was updated with a clarifying statement from a Kansas City Municipal Court public information officer around the type of assault. Davante Adams was charged under a city ordinance, not a state statute as previously reported.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].