The National Arena League football team owned by Antonio Brown, the Albany Empire, has been mired in controversy from the moment he took it over. The team has reportedly missed payments to players and coaches, and some of its best players have been suspended, per a report from the Albany Times Union.
Players and coaches have also been locked out of hotel rooms as well.
Brown originally bought 47.5% of the Empire in March, but he has since claimed to own 100% of the team.
Players and staff are supposed to get paid every Friday during the season, but no one received their money since April 21st. Last Sunday, the team played and lost Carolina Cobras without payment. The next day, head coach Damon Ware left the team because of the missed payments.
The Empire’s acting president, Alberony Denis, told the Times Union that the missed payments stemmed from an issue with the payroll processors.
National Arena League Commissioner Chris Siegfried finally released a statement this week, but he actually seemed to praise Antonio Brown’s ownership.
The commissioner particularly singled out Antonio Brown in a press release headlined “League Strengthens Support of All Ownership Moves in 2023” that was posted on the Arena Football League’s website.
“The NAL would like to thank our team owners for their dedication to the league and their commitment to providing a high-quality football experience for our fans,” said Commissioner Chris Siegfried. “We understand the challenges that come with owning a team and appreciate the hard work and sacrifices that are made to ensure the success of their franchises. I would also like to thank new Albany Empire majority owner Antonio Brown, and MVP Arena General Manager Bob Belber for their efforts during the Empire’s ownership transition. Antonio brings a new level of passion to the Empire and to the NAL; I look forward to working with AB as we continue to strengthen the National Arena League.“
Wide receiver Darius Prince, quarterback Sam Castronova, offensive lineman Brandon Sesay, offensive lineman Melvin Hollis, defensive back Dwayne Hollis, and linebacker Nick Haag have been suspended and did not get room keys to their rooms at an Albany Holiday Inn.
This isn’t the first incident since Brown took over in Albany. During the team’s first home game, Brown went on the field to meet fans before getting into an altercation with stadium security after being told to leave.
Amidst its mess of payroll issues and suspensions, the Empire are 1-2 through three games. Their next game is against the West Texas Warbirds on Saturday night.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.