Back in November 2018, former pro tennis player and then-Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob took a leave of absence from Tennis Channel after an arrest on a felony battery charge as well as The Telegraph publishing a list of other allegations of violence against him. From there, multiple people came forward with allegations of previous past sexist and homophobic comments.
The felony battery charges came from an incident last Halloween, where Randall Kaplan accused Gimelstob of attacking him from behind while they were trick-or-treating with their kids, striking him 50 times while threatening to kill him. Gimelstob pled no contest to that charge in April. The charge was then reduced to a misdemeanor, leading to him receiving community service and probation.
Gimelstob had initially pled not guilty in December and put out a statement blaming “the long history of Mr. Kaplan’s behavior and toxic interference in my life.” He also told TMZ in February that “I’m not the person that’s been depicted here.” He eventually received three years probation and 60 days community service.
Worth stressing that Gimelstob and his attorney, Shawn Holley, had every opportunity to go to trial if they wished. And thus to show this "significant proof refuting Mr. Kaplan's version of the events" that she refers to. They preferred a no-contest plea https://t.co/1PpUVwQOi3
— Simon Briggs (@simonrbriggs) April 30, 2019
Regardless of whether or not Gimelstob is the person depicted by theses charges and the many allegations levied against him, he’s paying the consequences now. Following the sentencing, Gimelstob resigned from the ATP board, saying he has become “a significant burden and distraction.” The board has previously voted not to remove him from that position, but his plea certainly changed the optics.
Gimelstob made the announcement on his Facebook page, and also seemed to take some responsibility for the October incident.
It has been an honor and a privilege to hold this position for the past 11 years. My job was to best represent the players, the ATP, and be a custodian of the sport. My choices and actions last Halloween night prohibit me from doing that at this time. My role is designed to work on behalf of the players and the sport and it is clear that I have now become a significant burden and distraction to both. That is not something that could or should continue. I’m heartbroken to walk away from something I love so much, but given the current climate I do not deserve to be in this position of influence.
…Giving up or conceding is not in my DNA, but it has become clear that I need to take a step back – for the good of the players, the game and for myself. Solely for that reason, I now more than ever appreciate that people in elected positions of influence must be held to the highest standard of conduct. I breached that standard on a night last October. I have always taken responsibility for my role in the events that evening and will continue to do so. While I can, have, and will continue to dispute the way that evening has been depicted, the material matter is that my judgment that evening compromised the sport and the people that entrusted me with the authority to represent them. I am deeply saddened and remorseful that my actions have caused the sport, players, my colleagues, friends and family such a distraction. Actions have consequences and me stepping away from a role I cherished is one of them that I accept.
Along with this announcement came news that Gimelstob was also resigning from his post at Tennis Channel.
“Justin has informed us that the leave of absence he began in November is ending with his resignation from Tennis Channel. We wish him well in this challenging time.”
— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) May 1, 2019
For some, the news was too little, too late. The sentiment that Tennis Channel should have fired Gimelstob long before now has left a bad taste behind, which some taking to social media to say they’ve cancelled their subscriptions to Tennis Channel and Tennis.tv.