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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

National Arena League Kicks Out Antonio Brown, Albany Empire

  • The NAL has ousted the Albany Empire midseason over Brown’s failure to make payments.
  • Brown, a former NFL star wide receiver, bought majority control of the Empire in April.
Antonio Brown failed to send payments to the National Arena League.
Mar 11, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown poses for photographers after the game between the Atlanta Hawks and the LA Clippers at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The National Arena League has terminated membership in the Albany Empire after the team’s owner Antonio Brown failed to make obligatory payments.

Brown, a former star NFL wide receiver whose career was plagued by numerous behavior incidents, acquired majority control of the Empire in April. Brown’s monthly payment made in April for the league’s operating budget was challenged, and he never sent a May payment, according to a press release from the National Arena League. 

The NAL also fined Brown $1,000 for “conduct detrimental to the league” regarding comments he made during a recent interview, and the league says he refused to pay the fine. 

The Empire have won back-to-back NAL championships. Their midseason dismissal shrinks the NAL from seven teams to six, and the league will now adjust its ongoing regular season schedule to account for the Empire’s absence. 

Brown made $80 million in career salary earnings across 12 NFL seasons, according to Spotrac. He was planning to suit up as a player for the Empire on June 17 against the Jacksonville Sharks, though that obviously won’t happen now. 

Before joining the NAL, the Albany Empire played two seasons in the Arena Football League until that league shut down in 2019. F1 Sports & Entertainment is rebooting the AFL under new ownership with plans to field 16 teams for a summer 2024 season.

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