Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; NFL free agent Antonio Brown smiles in the third quarter in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown, partner dispute ownership of Arena team

Former NFL All-Pro Antonio Brown is in a dispute with a business partner over who actually owns he Albany Empire of the National Arena League.

On March 7, at a news conference in Albany, N.Y., Brown was announced as a part owner of the team. But on Saturday, Brown told the local Times Union that he owns the team.

“I’m the owner, 100 percent owner. I don’t take that lightly,” Brown told the newspaper in a phone interview. “My job as the owner (is) to provide the players and community, the front office, everyone that experience, the experience of Albany, and I’m excited about that role.”

But Mike Kwarta, who welcomed Brown to the team at that news conference, said that isn’t true. He told the newspaper that he and Brown each own 47.5 percent of the team, with Charlotte and Steve von Schiller holding the other 5 percent. He added he’d paid $774,042 in worker’s compensation insurance, while Brown said he footed the entire $1.5 million bill.

When Brown was introduced as part of the ownership group in March, financial agreements were not disclosed.

Brown, the former NFL All-Pro wide receiver whose career has been marked by controversy, said Kwarta “couldn’t afford things in regards of (moving) the business forward,” per the report.

The Empire open their season Sunday at home against the Orlando Predators.

Brown, 34, spent some time as a child in Albany, where his father is a legend. Eddie Brown, who starred for the Albany Firebirds in the heyday of the Arena Football League, and also joined the Empire franchise as vice president of operations last month.

–Field Level Media

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

Antonio Brown takes part ownership of Arena team

Former NFL All-Pro Antonio Brown promised to be hands on in his new role as a part-owner of the Albany Empire of the National Arena League.

Brown was introduced Thursday at a news conference in Albany, N.Y., where his father is a legend. Eddie Brown, who starred for the Albany Firebirds in the heyday of the Arena Football League, also is joining the franchise as vice president of operations.

The Albany Times Union said Empire owner Mike Kwarta declined to offer details about Brown’s ownership agreement but commented that they are “equal partners, if you would.”

“Touchdown” Eddie Brown played in Albany from 1994-2001, and Antonio Brown was in elementary school with his dad joined the Firebirds.

“It means everything to be back here in the community where I grew up as a kid,” Antonio Brown said. “It’s about keeping Albany football, sustainability, being here forever, and offering the community, the kids, the players, a great opportunity to be successful.”

He said he isn’t just investing money in the franchise.

“I just want to be here hands-on, help the players be successful on and off the field, and just be an advocate here in the community to bring it out. If that’s going out in the community, getting people to the game, getting kids to come out here, events in the stadium, so whatever it takes to help us be our best selves and hoist a trophy,” Brown said.

Kwarta said he had no worries about partnering with the controversial Brown, who faced suspensions, criminal charges and civil lawsuits in his NFL days. Kwarta said their conversations had focused on Brown’s “childhood, what his dad did here, the legacies, and what can we do for the community, and that’s completely what we’re focused on.”

Eddie Brown was voted the best player in Arena Football League history in 2006 as the league celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The current Arena league doesn’t prohibit player-owners, but Antonio Brown said that won’t happen.

“I did everything as far as playing in the career of football,” the younger Brown said. “I won’t retire because I still got the game, but just working on other things.”

Brown, 34, played 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs released him on Jan. 6, 2022, days after he left the field in a game against the New York Jets and threw part of his gear into the stands.

A four-time All-Pro, Brown won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2020. In 146 career games, he made 928 catches for 12,291 yards and caught 83 touchdown passes. He also returned one kickoff and four punts for TDs.

The Empire open the season April 16 at home against the Orlando Predators.

–Field Level Media