UPDATE: According to a representative of Bauer’s, “it is inaccurate to say that the case against The Athletic was dismissed. The Athletic is a defendant in two separate counts in the lawsuit — one which has survived, alongside its former reporter Molly Knight, and a second that was dismissed without prejudice with leave to file an amended complaint, which we are in the process of preparing.”
ORIGINAL: Trevor Bauer was placed on administrative leave from Major League Baseball in July 2021 so that an internal investigation could be made into the sexual assault allegations against him. Those allegations had been outlined in a series of 2021 articles on The Athletic by former MLB reporter Molly Knight. Knight also went on to discuss details around the accusations in a series of tweets.
In March 2022, Bauer filed a defamation lawsuit against The Athletic and Knight for allegedly excluding pieces of information in that article and the tweets.
On Tuesday, a judge dismissed The Athletic as a defendant in that lawsuit.
Per Front Office Sports, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote in an opinion that while The Athletic is dismissed as a defendant, Bauer can file an amended complaint by Jan. 6. However, Knight remains a defendant in the lawsuit.
A since-deleted July 2021 tweet from Knight read that it was “not possible to consent to a fractured skull.” The accuser did not have a fractured skull, per CT scans shown in court documents. The original article on The Athletic was updated after Bauer’s representatives showed that while “the woman was initially diagnosed with signs of a basilar skull fracture, a subsequent CT scan found no acute fracture.”
Fitzgerald noted that “a reasonable reader could conclude that the tweets implied an asserted fact.”
“We welcome the court’s dismissal of claims against The Athletic,” The New York Times, which owns The Athletic, said in a statement to Front Office Sports. “We continue to believe that Knight’s tweets were non-actionable.”
Fitzgerald added that “based on the allegations that remain and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn therefrom, the complaint alleges a plausible claim for relief.”
Last month, Bauer’s attempt to have his accuser’s countersuit against him dismissed was denied. He had also sued the accuser’s attorney for defamation, but that lawsuit was dismissed as well. Bauer also sued Deadspin for defamation last March. His litigious actions may also be why The Rich Eisen Show was quick to retract a tweet earlier this year as well.
Following the results of MLB’s investigation, Bauer was suspended for 324 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. He is eligible to return to the league during the 2024 season.