On Tuesday, the Alliance for American Football suspended operations after eight weeks of staging games.
It was a sudden shutdown with just two weeks remaining in the league’s inaugural season that caught many off guard despite weeks-long rumblings of financial difficulties and a bailout from Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon.
Players were unprepared emotionally and practically as scenes like Steve Spurrier’s Orlando Apollos locker room the day the news broke paint a picture of disappointment and disbelief.
Shock to the system
“Like, it really does hurt — it’s hard to believe,” Apollos offensive lineman Chris Martin told Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor. “You form relationships and a brotherhood with people. We’ve seen each other every day for three months.
“And now, just like that, we may never see each other again. So, it’s a hard emotion to explain. I can’t really even put it into words.”
Players left stranded
Other players were faced with more urgent concerns — like where they would sleep. Some living in temporary housing or hotels were kicked out as soon as they news broke and left scrambling for a bed.
Salt Lake Stallions linebacker Gionni Paul wrote on Twitter that he was left with a broken arm from a game and in the lurch looking for an apartment.
“You can’t make this s--- up,” he wrote.
For their trouble, former players were met with an online apology the AAF issued via Twitter on Friday night.
“We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry,” the statement reads. ... “We are grateful to our players, who delivered quality football and may now exercise their NFL-out clauses in our contract.”
The full statement is below.
This is not likely the last we’ve heard of this. As players who were injured in games have ongoing medical expenses, there remain many unresolved issues from the sudden shutdown of the AAF.
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