Federal judge deems Yankees’ argument to keep letter sealed “unpersuasive”

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Last week, the New York Yankees made the news after it was leaked that they could be involved in a sign-stealing scheme, after reports surfaced that commissioner Rob Manfred sent a letter to Brian Cashman that, according to the team, could cause “significant reputational injury.”

The Yankees want to keep the letter unsealed but their argument that it would cause “significant reputational injury” has been deemed “unpersuasive” by a federal judge, according to the New York Post.

It all comes from a lawsuit filed by DraftKings bettors that say the letter has new information besides what was disclosed during Manfred’s 2017 press release about the Yankees sign-stealing. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff recently said the letter should be unsealed because of the team’s “inconsistent arguments.’’

That prompted a legal response from the Yankees and MLB in the form of an appeal, but it won’t be enforced until a ruling from the Court of Appeals.

“The New York Yankees appreciate the judge’s decision to maintain the letter under seal pending appeal and look forward to being heard by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals,’’ the Yankees said in a statement.

Rakoff thinks the letter should be unsealed.

Were the Yankees involved in sign stealing?

“Although the MLB defendants had earlier argued that the letter was wholly in accord with the Commissioner’s public statement and now argued that release of the letter would harm the Yankees’ reputation, these mutually inconsistent arguments, as well as other arguments offered by the MLB defendants and the Yankees, were unpersuasive,” Rakoff wrote. “Indeed, one might be tempted to conclude that there is no justification for keeping the letter sealed.”

Sources said Ken Davidoff that the letter, which was written after an investigation launched of the Red Sox “AppleWatchGate” scandal, details a couple of offenses related to sign-stealing, including the Bombers improperly using a dugout phone before 2017, as well as Yankees players using the replay room to steal and relay signs to runners on second in 2015 and 2016.

DraftKings thinks the Yankees were part of a “more serious, sign-stealing” scheme than the league disclosed. Manfred, however, wrote in 2017 that while the Yankees had “violated a rule governing the use of the dugout phone,” the “substance of the communications [over the phone] was not a violation.”

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