The National Arena League kicked the Albany Empire out of the league Thursday after new owner Antonio Brown failed to pay either a required assessment or a fine he received following recent public comments.
“After exhausting all avenues, the NAL board of owners have decided unanimously to terminate the membership agreement of the Albany Empire,” the news release said. “The decision was reached after an emergency conference call of the members in good standing to discuss the Empire’s failure to pay their league mandated and overdue assessments.”
Brown became majority owner of the upstate New York team in April, and under terms of league ownership, all teams are required to pay one-seventh of the NAL operating budget, via monthly transactions. The league, in the release, said Brown paid the April assessment but didn’t pay the May 15 installment or a $1,000 fine for conduct detrimental to the league.
The league said the team accountant informed officials “that it didn’t seem like Mr. Brown was going to pay the assessment or fine,” driving the league to hold the emergency conference call.
The membership gave the Empire until noon ET on Thursday to make the payment. When the team didn’t pay, the NAL canceled the Empire’s Saturday home game against the Jacksonville Sharks and will adjust the rest of the league’s 2023 regular season schedule without the Albany team.
Brown’s only comment thus far has been a tweet that read, “Major league not minors.”
The Empire are 1-6.
Brown’s father, Eddie Brown, is a legend in the former Arena Football League and starred for the Albany Firebirds.
Since the younger Brown bought the Empire, the team has been through multiple head coaches, and Brown released both of the quarterbacks on the roster after last weekend’s loss to the Orlando Predators.
Brown, the former NFL All-Pro wide receiver, had vowed to play for the team but had yet to do so. He practiced on Wednesday and caught passes from quarterback Dalton Cole, who played at Division III Brevard College and for the Sharks for a short time.
–Field Level Media