Agent Casey Close sues Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb for libel over tweet about contract offer to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman

Agent Casey Close sued Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb for defamation on Thursday, alleging that Gottlieb “falsely and recklessly” defamed Close and Excel Sports Management in a tweet that claimed they gave first baseman Freddie Freeman during the free agency no contract offer submitted. according to a complaint filed in a New York court.

The lawsuit details Close’s negotiations with the Atlanta Braves, the team with which Freeman spent his career before signing a six-year, $162 million free agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in March. On June 29, Gottlieb tweeted, “Casey Close never told Freddie Freeman about the Braves’ latest bid, so Freeman fired him” — a claim the complaint says is false and has resulted in death threats against Close and tens of millions of dollars in damages to Close and Excel.

In a statement, Close said: “Although we gave Mr Gottlieb an opportunity to withdraw his false testimony, he did not. The complaint clarifies what happened during the negotiations with the Atlanta Braves.”

Gottlieb and his attorney, John Teheranian, did not respond to messages from ESPN asking for comment.

On March 29, Atlanta offered Freeman, the five-time All-Star who spent 15 years in the Braves organization, a five-year, $110 million contract, according to the complaint. According to the complaint, Freeman declined that offer, as well as an Aug. 1 five-year, $125 million offer and an Aug. 4 five-year, $135 million extension.

Freeman achieved the free hand after helping lead the Braves to a World Series title. Their final talks over a potential deal came on March 12, according to the complaint, when Close made two potential offers to the Braves — previously reported as six years for $175 million or five years for $165 million. The team, according to the complaint, declined both, and after Close sought an offer for Freeman and was told the Braves would not make one, Close “immediately shared the final call with Freeman.”

Days after Freeman returned to Atlanta with the Dodgers on June 24, Freeman fired Close, according to the complaint.

In a statement, Close and Excel’s attorneys Mitch Schuster and Kevin Fritz said: “Doug Gottlieb’s testimony – Casey Close, a respected member of the sports agent community for over 30 years, did not submit a contract offer to a client – is not only completely false, but also represents an attack on the character of Mr. Close and his highly respected agency, Excel Sports Management. Such reckless misconduct on the part of Mr. Gottlieb will not be tolerated.”

Defamation is the formal term for written defamation, and the standard in the United States depends on whether the person allegedly defamed is a public or private figure. The standard for public figures – a broad term for people who are well known to the public – is much higher. The complaint says Close, a former minor league New York Yankees who has negotiated billions in deals over his 30-year career as an agent, is a private individual.

If his status as a private individual is upheld by a court in the Southern District of New York, Close would have to prove that Gottlieb’s testimony was false and negligent. For public figures, the threshold is that the accused made the statement with “actual malice” or, as the Supreme Court defined it, “knowing that it was wrong, or with reckless disregard for whether or not it was wrong.” , published.

A former college basketball player and ESPN analyst, Gottlieb, 46, did not contact Close or Excel for comment prior to his tweet, according to the complaint. Close and Excel requested a retraction of Gottlieb’s tweet, the complaint said, “but he has not done so.” Agent Casey Close sues Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb for libel over tweet about contract offer to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman

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