Baseball agent Casey Close has filed a federal libel suit against FOX Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb after Gottlieb reported that Close never presented the Atlanta Braves’ final offer to Freddie Freeman, who was Close’s client at the time.
Bill Shea of The Athletic talked to two experts to get an idea of what we can expect from the case. Many of them agreed that the outcome could hinge on whether or not Casey Close and his agency are private or public figures.
The legal filing states that Close and his company Excel Sports Management are private figures. If the court agrees, libel would be much easier to prove.
“Courts generally look to the defendant to show that the plaintiff is a public figure,” said Len Niehoff, a University of Michigan law school professor who specializes in First Amendment and media law.
There is no easy answer to the question of whether or not Casey Close or Excel Sports Management are actually private figures. Close is often described as the former agent and personal friend of Derek Jeter. Certainly there is a familiarity with him and his clients.
Niehoff said it is possible that Close could be viewed as a “limited public figure” in this case.
“General purpose public figures are people whose profile is so high that the public cares whenever they talk about pretty much anything. Oprah might be an example. Limited purpose public figures are people who have voluntarily thrust themselves into a particular controversy. These days, when so many people have such a strong presence in social media and on the internet generally, we probably have more public figures than we’ve ever had.”
It will be up to the defense to prove that Casey Close is not a private figure.
Dan Lust, a veteran sports attorney in New York, said that the discovery phase of the case will be as interesting as anything we have seen in the sports law realm. However, he would be surprised if we get there.
“Almost every single case is going to settle before you get to trial,” he said.
Lust and Niehoff agree that it is too early to tell what strategy Gottlieb’s legal team may employ in his defense. Lust noted that if Gottlieb’s report can be proven true though, none of those options matter.
“Under New York law, it is well-settled that ‘truth is an absolute, unqualified defense to a civil defamation action,’” he told Shea. “If what Gottlieb said turns out to be true, he successfully defends (the case).”
Tim Ryan Signs Extension With 49ers Radio Crew
“The Mercury News indicates that both Ryan and Papa will have their contracts come up at the same time – 2028.”
Just ahead of the San Francisco 49ers game on Thursday Night Football, the team announced its radio color commentator Tim Ryan has signed a contract extension to remain on broadcasts through the 2028 season.
Ryan kicked off his 10th season in the booth a few weeks ago. He has been calling games alongside Greg Papa since 2019.
The Mercury News indicates that both Ryan and Papa will have their contracts come up at the same time – 2028.
Ryan played four seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. He was a third round draft pick in 1990. He has been broadcasting ever since.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Howard Eskin: Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce Dating Rumors Are ‘All A Little Game’
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast.'”
Whenever Taylor Swift performs a concert or goes out, there is generally a swarm of paparazzi that surrounds her. As one of the preeminent superstars in the world of music, there is considerable public interest in her life and upcoming projects. For years, fans of the artist have followed her dating life, which has included boyfriends such as Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Harry Styles.
Recently, many people are starting to believe that she could be dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end and two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce. In an appearance on Thursday’s edition of The Pat McAfee Show, Kelce was asked about the rumors and relayed that he invited her to a Chiefs game to watch him play.
“I’ve seen you rock the stage in Arrowhead [Stadium],” Kelce said his message read. “You might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead and see which one is a little more lit.”
Although Howard Eskin’s guest appearance on SportsRadio 94WIP took place before Kelce’s public comments, he diffused the dating rumors by recounting the situation that started the ensuing chain of events. Kelce attended Swift’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium and tried to pass along a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it to the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning artist. Since then, reports from The Messenger have indicated that Kelce and Swift have conversed and hung out several times. Additionally, Swift reportedly thinks that Kelce is “very charming,” and the duo is “seeing where things go.”
“She’s in Kansas City – he’s Travis Kelce,” Eskin said. “There’s people there, I’m sure, that handed her a number and she said, ‘Who is this?’ I would bet – yes – she doesn’t follow football.”
Amid his statement, Eskin was reminded that Swift is a Philadelphia Eagles fan, something she revealed at Lincoln Financial Field on her acclaimed slate of shows within “The Eras Tour.” The sports radio luminary then shared that Swift wore his Super Bowl LII ring after the team won the championship in 2018 and that he was invited to the premiere of the tour movie on Oct. 13 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Reacting to comments made by Philadelphia Eagles’ center Jason Kelce during in an interview with McAfee on Wednesday, he believes the disclosure of the dating rumors are helping fuel increased notoriety. Each week, the Kelce brothers record and release episodes of their podcast, New Heights, with Wave Sports + Entertainment, and Eskin thinks that reacting to the reports could equate to a simple publicity stunt.
“The producer of their podcast will say, ‘Hey, let’s play this up; it’s great for the podcast,’” Eskin said. “It’s all a little game. Entertainment Tonight did a story on Taylor Swift and her former boyfriend who was married to somebody else, and they played this small clip of the audio and said nothing because there is nothing to report other than Jason Kelce said, ‘I think it’s 100% true.’”
Steak Shapiro: Chris Russo’s Gummy Comment an ‘All-Time TV Moment’
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’”
Steak Shapiro told his audience that he has been in the media business for a long time. What he saw on First Take on Wednesday was “one of the all-time TV moments that I have ever seen.”
That moment was Chris Russo’s admission that he will eat a THC gummy, drink a cocktail in the middle of the day and bet $10,000 on Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes to beat Oregon on Saturday.
“I’m going to tell you, jaws dropped, folks high-fived me and you’re just like, ‘did that just happen?’” He said Thursday morning on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta.
He joked that promoting get drunk, betting thousands of dollars and taking drugs should be proof to critics that “ESPN ain’t that woke.”
Drew Butler, Shapiro’s co-host for the Thursday edition of The Steakhouse, said that what caught most people’s attention was the facial expressions and reactions of NFL analyst Marcus Spears.
He added that he was shocked to see something like that on ESPN, who just went through some very public layoffs which have drawn real criticism.
“They take a lot of heat for having to be righteous, politically correct, kind of milquetoast at times,” Shapiro agreed. “Listen, I don’t know that they’re related.”
He added that it would be different if Russo had said that he was going to roll a joint a get high. He said the afternoon that was described though is something that isn’t just unobjectionable to many, it is probably very appealing to a lot of people.
“Any women listening now may envision your husband just like this and any dude listening right now? Again, there’s plenty of guys that’ll wake up and run a marathon, right? Or just go hike for 4 hours. And that’s great, too,” he said. “But then there are other guys that want this out of their Saturday.”
“There’s certain entertainment in listening to a man who simply has nothing to lose,” Butler concluded.
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