Close, one of the biggest agents in the game and part of Freeman’s team at Excel Sports Management, is said to have been involved in long negotiations with the Braves that ended with Atlanta heading in a different direction. On March 15, Freeman was still at the open market, Atlanta Traded with Auckland’s first policeman, Matt Olson Soon, he signed an eight-year contract worth $168 million. Two days later, Freeman joined the Dodgers.
The two players settled into their new roles as the season got underway and both Dodgers and Braves got off to a strong start. It wasn’t until late June, when the two teams met in a three-game series in Atlanta, that those issues surfaced.
Freeman, who made his Atlanta debut as a visiting player, was visibly emotional throughout the opening game of the Braves series. four days later, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported That Freeman parted ways with Close and Excel. Olney also stated that Freeman’s confidants believed that “the long weekend’s emotion was connected, to some extent, to the lingering anger and sadness that his negotiations ended with him playing for a team other than the club that initially drafted him”.
In the wake of Olney’s report, Gottlieb—Fox Sports Radio host and former college basketball star—sent a viral tweet that tied everything together, claiming that Close never told Freeman about the Braves final show and that Freeman wasn’t aware until visiting Atlanta. Gottlieb said that when he was told, Freeman shot Close.
Casey Close never told Freddy Freeman about the final Braves show, which is why Freeman fired him. Find out in Atlanta this weekend. It’s not uncommon for this to happen in MLB, but it did – Claus knew Freddy would take the ATL deal
– Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) 29 June 2022
The next day, Close released a statement via Excel that the Braves were responsible for creating a “false narrative” about Freeman’s departure.
“I will not stand idly by because the circumstances surrounding Freddy Freeman’s departure are wrong,” Close said.
agent too I spoke to Sports Illustrated about Gottlieb’s tweet.
“There is absolutely no truth in what Doug Gottlieb tweeted recklessly, and I will attest to that under oath,” Close said. “We are currently evaluating all legal options in this matter.”
Now, a legal option has been chosen as “close” and Excel is suing Gottlieb for defamation. The complaint filed Thursday alleges that Gottlieb’s tweet damaged the names of the plaintiffs, businesses and reputation, and that “Close received death threats from people believed to be Atlanta Braves fans.”
“The plaintiffs suffered damages in an amount that will be determined at trial but is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars,” the document said.
Freeman has not commented publicly on the matter. In a statement to ESPN, Close claimed that this lawsuit was an attempt to correct any misconceptions.
“The complaint sets the record straight regarding what happened during negotiations with the Atlanta Braves,” he said.
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