It’s no secret that former NFL superstar receiver Antonio Brown has been involved in his fair share of controversies over the years, and it seems like he has a new one involving the arena football team that he owns.
As reported by the Times Union, the Albany Empire, which is owned by Antonio Brown, has not paid its players or coaches since April 21 and faces several suspensions of key players and the head coach leaving the future of the team very uncertain.
“The Empire organization has not paid players or coaches since April 21, according to one of the team’s top players. Coach Damon Ware confirmed the lack of payment and said Monday that he has left the team,” Abigail Rubel wrote for the Times Union on Monday.
“The team is supposed to be paid the Friday following each week’s game; no one received direct deposits on April 28 ahead of Sunday’s game, and the team played the Carolina Cobras in Greensboro, N.C., without pay, one player said, speaking on condition of anonymity,” Rubel continued.
Additionally, several key players are no longer on the team. Wide receiver Darius Prince, quarterback Sam Castronova, lineman Brandon Sesay, defensive back Dwayne Hollis, linebacker Nick Haag and lineman Melvin Hollins were all suspended along with head coach Ware due to an incident on a team bus and none of them will be re-joining the team. Prince was last season’s Most Valuable Player and leads the league in receiving while Hollis, Haag, and Sesay are team captains.
It’s a pretty horrible situation for Brown, and the sports world had plenty to say about it on social media.
ANYTHING he touches, turns to trash. Tragic. https://t.co/MzBgw7eoa5
— Ed Thompson (@ThompsonFoto12) May 2, 2023
"The team also posted to Instagram that it was looking for a head coach, wide receiver, defensive back, lineman and backup quarterback, though Castronova was the only quarterback rostered." The Empire have a home game scheduled on Saturday. https://t.co/P045O37IbL
— Mark Singelais (@MarkSingelais) May 1, 2023
The players on his team, the Albany Empire, say they aren't getting paid but owner Antonio Brown is negotiating the purchase of socialite Michele Riggi mansion in Saratoga Springs. @wendyliberatore reports on the ex-NFLer's latest situation: https://t.co/KSi0tiqfRN
— Mike Goodwin (@goodwintu) May 2, 2023
One player has told me that on top of unpaid wages, promised food vouchers were not handed out to Empire players last week. Some of the younger guys barely ate last week.
— Chet Davis (@ChetDavisCBS6) May 1, 2023
— Rwilliams204 (@rwilliams204) May 1, 2023
It will certainly be interesting to see how Brown handles all of this.