Alliance of American Football Chairman Tom Dundon’s abrupt decision to pull the league’s funding had instant financial ramifications for players, at least some of whom were kicked out of hotel rooms and left with medical bills, according to a report late Wednesday.
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Members of the Memphis Express, one of the AAF’s eight teams, were kicked out of their hotel rooms and found their belongings in the lobby, according to a report from Rich Ohrnberger, a former NFL player who worked as a color commentator for the AAF’s San Diego Fleet. Additionally, players with injuries won’t be compensated for lingering medical or rehab costs.
“Unorganized is an understatement … kicked out of our rooms (that weren’t paid apparently) 17 hours away from home with a car full of my belongings and nowhere to go,” Memphis Express fullback Anthony Manzo-Lewis wrote on Twitter.
AAF representatives did not return multiple requests for comment on the situation.
While the AAF paid its former employees through Wednesday, they did not receive any severance pay and did not learn that the league would suspend operations until this week. Dundon, who pledged $250 million in funding to the league when he became chairman in February, opted to shutter operations when it became clear that the AAF wouldn’t reach a deal with the NFL Players’ Association to use low-level NFL players on its rosters.
The AAF was beset with financial issues from the start of its inaugural season. Players were left to buy their own plane tickets home this week, and multiple reports suggest that at least some of the league’s vendors and business partners haven’t been paid for services rendered.
In a statement shortly after the AAF’s decision to cease operations surfaced, co-founder Bill Polian suggested that Dundon made the decision without consulting him or co-founder Charlie Ebersol.
Polian said that he and Ebersol planned to “finish the season, pay our creditors and make the necessary adjustments to move forward in a manner that made economic sense for all. The momentum generated by our players, coaches and football staff had us well positioned for future success. Regrettably, we will not have that opportunity.”