The next step in the legal proceedings for ATP Board member and broadcaster Justin Gimelstob happens Monday at 8:30 a.m.
That’s when a hearing will take place in a Los Angeles, Calif. courtroom regarding the temporary restraining order filed by Randall Kaplan.
Kaplan is accusing the 41-year-old former player of assaulting him in front of his wife and two-year-daughter on Halloween night.
The following day, the 50-year-old venture capitalist filed for the restraining order.
On Nov. 21, Gimelstob turned himself into police and was booked on a suspicion of felony battery charge. The Los Angeles police released him on $50,000 bail. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Public reaction virulent
Reaction from some tennis fans on social media has been vocal. The comments largely have been the not-atypical “guilty until proven innocent” calls to action.
Among them are Twitter entreaties to Tennis Channel and the ATP to relieve Gimelstob of his duties – some because they simply dislike his on-air work. As well, some are making direct calls to Gimelstob’s Tennis Channel colleagues and other prominent players and media types to denounce him.
Guilty in the court of public opinion
The group objective seems more to have Gimelstob lose his various tennis-related jobs than anything related to paying the legal consequences for the actual charges levied against him in the Kaplan case.
That reaction, along with a report in the Telegraph outlining an unrelated run-in on a paddle tennis court in Los Angeles in 2017, led Gimelstob’s lawyer Shawn Holley to issue this statement to tennis.life and other media Saturday.
“Mr. Gimelstob did not intend to respond to the recent media coverage about him and instead focus on his family and career. However, he now feels compelled to do so based on the nature of numerous blatantly false allegations. Mr. Gimelstob unequivocally and absolutely denies ever engaging in domestic violence or homophobic behavior of any kind. Any suggestions to the contrary are false,” the statement read.
“While Mr. Gimelstob cannot respond to every allegation here due to ongoing legal matters, many are baseless, contradicted by neutral third parties and court rulings, and driven by unfortunate personal vendettas. Mr. Gimelstob looks forward to clearing his name in the appropriate forums and moving on with his family and career.”
Gimelstob also denies
Gimelstob’s lawyer also represents celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan. She also was part of the “Dream Team” that represented former football star O.J. Simpson in his murder trial back in 1992.
In a brief conversation with tennis.life Friday, Gimelstob denied the events that allegedly took place on the paddle court, as detailed in the Telegraph story. That story was buttressed by on-the-record statements by several alleged witnesses to the incident.
Gimelstob said it was “a complete fabrication”. And he added he had several sworn declarations from others to that effect.
Hewitt alone in call to ATP
Publicly, only former player and current Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt has made a call for any type of action by the ATP.
It’s no secret that Hewitt has never been president of the Gimelstob fan club.
Player Council to discuss Gimelstob matter
The ATP Player Council, whose president is Novak Djokovic, plans several conference calls in the next few days to hash out the situation.
A majority vote among the 10 members would be required to oust Gimelstob. But the council, as a group, are said to be highly satisfied with the former player’s advocacy for them on the ATP Board.
When the council voted to oust Roger Rasheed last month, the vote was 7-3.
But as a result of that, the council finds itself in a bind. Technically, it already is one vote down because of Rasheed’s departure, although an interim replacement for Rasheed already is on board.
David Egdes has been tipped until a vote can be held on a permanent replacement.
Egdes was a player representative on the ATP board for a decade. His last three-year term expired as new members Rasheed and Alex Inglot came aboard in Jan. 2018.
Crucial time for ATP Board
Egdes’s main job is as a senior vice-president at Tennis Channel.
That, of course, always made Egdes an interesting choice to serve as a player representative.
Not that he doesn’t have splendid qualifications to serve in any capacity. A tennis all-American at Trinity, he’s also a lawyer.
Egdes also, although not directly, is Gimelstob’s superior at the network.
(Yes, just another example of people in tennis serving many masters. Although, to be fair in this particular instance, nearly every board member of any organization has a “real” job. Egdes was compensated $100,000 during his final year on the board. That’s similar to most of the other members with the exception of Gimelstob, who does other producing work for the ATP and earned significantly more).
These are critical times for the ATP Player Council. The players are juggling several issues including its call to tournaments for an increased share of the revenue. There also is the tug of war between the ATP and ITF over Davis Cup, the proposed new ATP Cup and the upcoming Olympics.
You wouldn’t expect them vote him out. Although perhaps, as he did with with Tennis Channel, Gimelstob might take a leave as he sorts out his personal situation.
For the ATP Tour board itself to oust Gimelstob would require a unanimous vote from the other five board members. Notably, IMG senior vice-president Gavin Forbes, one of the tournament representatives on the board (Americas) has long been a fervent Gimelstob supporter. And the two are said to be close friends.
More will be revealed on Monday.