Judge Rules Yankees Must Unseal Letter Possibly Linked to Sign Stealing

In this weekends Hot Clicks: The Yankees will have to hand over a letter sent from Rob Manfred from a 2017 investigation, plus Bret Bielema's buyout beef with Arkansas and more.
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The Yankees lost...

...on Friday when a New York judge ruled a letter sent by MLB commish Rob Manfred to the Yankees addressing the 2017 sign-stealing investigation must be unsealed.

The ruling came when daily fantasy sports players filed a lawsuit against the league after revelations of the sign-stealing scandal involving the Red Sox and Astros. The Yankees argued the letter would cause “significant reputational injury” but also said, “We’re not doing this to cover up some smoking gun.”

“There is no justification for public disclosure of the letter,” Jonathan Schiller, a lawyer representing the Yankees, said in a statement to The Athletic. “The plaintiff has no case anymore, and the court held that what MLB wrote in confidence was irrelevant to the court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. Under established law, this supports the Yankees’ right to confidentiality required by the Commissioner of Baseball.”

The Yankees have until noon ET on Monday to submit a minimally redacted version of the letter, which won’t be unsealed until June 19. This gives the team enough time for an emergency appeal if they wish, which The Athletic reported is likely.

Related: Tom Verducci breaks down the latest issues in MLB’s negotiations to resume the season.

Bielema’s buyout beef...

...with Arkansas is not settled two-and-a-half years after his dismissal. Bielema filed a lawsuit against the Razorback Foundation on Friday asking for $7 million while alleging breach of contract because the foundation stopped paying him in January 2019.

Bielema’s firing in November 2017 triggered a $12-million buyout (an amount less than the believed $15.4 million because of a bizarre omission of a payment chart in his contract), only $5 million of which was paid. Payments stopped in January 2019 because Bielema didn’t try hard enough to find employment, the foundation alleged.

Every year...

...an under-the-radar college football team enters the College Football Playoff discussion. Minnesota rode a favorable schedule and one marquee win (Penn State) into the playoff discussion last year. While the Gophers ultimately finished 18th in the final rankings on Dec. 8, they rose to No. 8 on two separate occasions, including the week before the regular-season finale.

Which teams could be dark horse playoff contenders this year? Last weekend on the High Motor podcast, we made cases for Arizona State, Indiana, Virginia Tech and others. You can listen here or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and everywhere else.

Odds & Ends

The University of Houston suspended all athletic workouts after six student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 ... Ten student-athletes tested positive at Iowa State … Biggest weakness for each AFC team … And the biggest weakness for each NFC team … Antonio Brown pleaded no contest on Friday to felony burglary with battery charges … North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham said he wants NCAA Football back … The NFL joined Nike, Twitter and others in making Juneteenth an official company holiday … ICYMI: John Harbaugh said the NFL’s current coronavirus guidelines are “impossible.”

Ariel Meredith

How did I miss this in 2013?

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