Patriots manage to keep emails in Bret Bielema legal fight secret, for now

Patriots manage to keep emails in Bret Bielema legal fight secret, for now

The fight between Arkansas and former head coach Bret Bielema continues to ensnare the Patriots. Recently, however, the Patriots scored a win in court — albeit possibly temporary.

Via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, a judge ruled Tuesday that emails between coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft will remain private.

The Patriots had argued that the emails “contain competitively sensitive and personal information — including compensation paid to another member of the team’s coaching staff,” and that the team “would suffer competitive and commercial harm if this information is made publicly available.”

The judge determined to give the Patriots “the benefit of the doubt” for now, but the judge left the door open to make the emails or the information taken from them public, as the litigation proceeds.

Arkansas believes that Bielema and his agent, Neil Cornrich, hatched a “scheme” that would “place Bielema in a low-paying position with the Patriots while he was still receiving payments from the [Razorback] Foundation.” The Patriots have denied any shenanigans or chicanery.

Bielema has a buyout in the amount of $11.935 million, with offsets on any income before $150,000 per year. The Patriots paid Bielema $125,000 per year.

The Razorback Foundation stopped paying Bielema in 2019, after giving him roughly $4.55 million. Bielema wants the balance, and the Razorback Foundation wants all of its money back.

Meanwhile, good luck to the folks at Arkansas when the time comes to hire a new head coach and to persuade him to take the leap of faith that he eventually won’t have to fight for his money, if he’s fired prematurely.