Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb retracted his report Excel Sports Management agent Casey Close that alleged he withheld information from Freddie Freeman during contract negotiations with the Atlanta Braves.
“On June 29, I commented on alleged circumstances surrounding Freddie Freeman’s negotiations with the Atlanta Braves and his relationship with his former agent Casey Close. While I always strive to report accurate information, I prematurely reported on these events and simply got it wrong,” Gottlieb said in a statement.
“Upon further vetting of my sources, a review of the lawsuit filed against me in this matter, and a direct conversation with Casey himself, I have learned that the conduct I alleged did not occur and that there is no credible basis for stating that it did.
“My ultimate investigation into the smatter confirmed that Casey Close did, in fact, communicate all offers to Freddie Freeman and the sources I relied on were incorrect, in no uncertain terms. I appreciate the damage that misinformation like this can cause and have been in touch with Casey Close to apologize directly. I have also deleted my original tweet.”
While Freeman was open about his desire to re-sign with the Braves in free agency, the two sides never managed to overcome a hurdle for a sixth year being included in a new contract. The Braves ultimately pivoted to trading for Matt Olson, who was immediately signed to a contract extension.
Freeman, who admittedly was stunned by the Olson trade, went on to sign a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers.
All the while Close vehemently denied Gottlieb’s accusation of not presenting the Braves’ final contract offer to Freeman and his family.
“From the onset, we were clear that Mr. Gottlieb’s tweet was wholly inaccurate and that we would seek legal remedies to set the record straight,” Excel said in a statement on behalf of Close. “He has retracted his statement in its entirety and acknowledged that he got the story wrong. We consider this matter close.”
Casey Close filed libel lawsuit against Doug Gottlieb
Shortly after issuing a statement in response to Gottlieb’s accusation, Close filed a libel lawsuit that alleged the Fox Sports radio host “falsely and recklessly” defamed him and Excel Sports Management.
The libel suit has been dropped in light of Gottlieb retracting his tweet.
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