Alliance Of American Football Shuts The Doors On Players, Employees
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There’s an old expression that says actions speak louder than words. With the actions of the Alliance of American Football over the last couple of days, the Alliance has made it perfectly clear; they were an absolute joke of an organization.
The league hasn’t said much either, issuing a single tweet after reports came in that it would be suspending operations.
Effective immediately, all AAF players are authorized to sign with NFL Clubs.
— The Alliance (@TheAAF) April 4, 2019
Much like how 2017’s infamous Fyre Festival music festival has since become a phenomenally talked-about story of incompetence and disregard for acceptable business practices, the Alliance seems doomed for a similar fate.
That’s not to say that the people who worked at the team level for teams like the Salt Lake Stallions are as worthy as ridicule as the main shotcallers for the AAF. Many of those who worked for the Stallions were terrific, talented people who worked hard to promote the game. Unfortunately, the Alliance has ultimately left a lot of people, from the players to the support staff, high and dry.
As details have emerged on the messy divorce between the AAF and its workers, including players and team executives, many are left scratching their heads in bewilderment.
More on the #AAF collapse:
+Players in Memphis came back to their hotels after news came down, and had their personal items waiting in the lobby. Kicked out of their lodgings.
+Amount of money owed to vendors, venues, etc. in San Antonio for training camp is over $4 Million
— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) April 4, 2019
It’s possible that no player has more reason to be upset than former University of Utah and Stallions linebacker Gionni Paul. One of the main draws for local fans, Paul broke his arm in the Stallions’ last game and will likely have to foot the bill for the entirety of his medical expenses. To make matters worse, he was kicked out of his team-provided apartment soon afterwards.
Many fans have reached out in support of Paul and have offered to help him find a place to live. A GoFundMe page for his medical bills has also been established.
The fact that one of its former players needed to reach out on Twitter for help from the community goes to show just how merciless the folding of the AAF has been.
But it’s not just the players that are suffering.
At the team level, almost all of the employees, from marketing to ticket sales were let go as the Alliance announced its suspension of operations. The workers were given just one day’s severance pay.
I'm no longer with the AAF, obviously. For season ticket holders, they took our phones and computers, I don't have any access or updates on refunds. I sincerely encourage everyone to contact the current ownership.
— Bryan Brown (@BrownbearSLC) April 3, 2019
Getting a job working for a professional sports team is an extremely difficult task and often a dream come true for those who achieve it. Many people left really good jobs to get a chance at working with the AAF and now are left unemployed. One example is Salt Lake City native Dom Lewis, who left his job working on the social and digital media platforms for the Seattle Seahawks to become the Alliance’s director of social media. Lewis is now currently looking for a job back in the Seattle area.
I’m thankful for it all.
— Dom Lewis (@Dommy_Digital) April 2, 2019
While the product on-field wasn’t great and the system definitely had its flaws, the way the top-level decision makers have chosen to break up the Alliance and treat the people who broke their backs (or arms, in Paul’s case) to build the league is an absolute disgrace.
Anyone with a vague understanding of business acumen can agree that shutting the AAF was probably justified. League chairman Tom Dundon reportedly has lost $70 million of his $250 million investment just a couple weeks after he saved the league from bankruptcy on Feb. 19. That’s a lot of money to lose, so sure it makes sense financially to close the doors.
However, the way the league has done it has been completely deplorable.
Shame on the Alliance.