Albany Empire coaches and players are planning to file a class-action lawsuit against owner and former NFL player Antonio Brown after they said he pulled paychecks back out of their bank accounts after their final game, according to the Albany Times Union.
Empire coach Moe Leggett said he and players were paid for days after their final game against the Orlando Predators, as expected. But less than a week later, they realized the paychecks had been reversed and taken back out from their respective bank accounts.
It’s unclear how many Empire staff and players allegedly had their paychecks reversed, or what the amounts were. Leggett said he’s tried repeatedly to reach Brown, his accountant and the team president, but has not received any answers.
“I’m frustrated,” Leggett told the Times Union. “I tried to give [Brown] the benefit of the doubt. I tried to work with him. I was trying to be the peacemaker, the mediator to make sure things ran smoothly and just under the radar. But I can no longer do that.”
That alleged issue is just the latest Brown’s team faced in the National Arena League. The NAL terminated the franchise and kicked it out of the league earlier this month after it said Brown failed to make required payments to the league’s operating budget.
Brown, the league said, purchased the team and made the initial required payment in April. He failed to pay in May and then challenged the April payment, which the league said was paid back to him. The league also said that Brown failed to pay a $1,000 fine for public comments, but it’s unclear what comments the NAL was referring to specifically. Brown allegedly owed the league $21,000.
Leggett said he is searching for a lawyer to file his lawsuit, and several players told the Times Union they would happily join.
“I feel like this was his plan all along,” former Empire wide receiver Fabian Guerra told the Times Union. “I feel like he does stuff for social media and to sell his songs. I think it’s just what he does. That’s the type of guy he is. No one trusts him anymore. I see it hard for him to get any future deals going because of how he is as a person.”
Brown, 34, played in the NFL for 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he was once one of the top receivers in the league at his peak, Brown’s career spiraled downhill fast. He hasn’t played since he stripped off his gear and ran off the field in the middle of a Buccaneers game at the end of the 2021 season. He has also faced battery and burglary conveyance charges, and multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct.