AAF issues statement: “We are very sorry”

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Amid criticism for the decision to end their season this week — in some cases abruptly leaving players without housing or health care — the Alliance of American Football is saying it’s sorry.

In an unsigned statement released late Friday night, the AAF acknowledged it put players and coaches in a difficult position.

“This week, we made the difficult decision to suspend all football operations for the Alliance of American Football,” the statement said. “We understand the difficulty that this decision has caused for many people and for that we are very sorry. This is not the way we wanted it to end, but we are also committed to working on solutions for all outstanding issues to the best of our ability. Due to ongoing legal processes, we are unable to comment further or share details about the decision. We are grateful to our players, who delivered quality football and may now exercise their NFL-out clauses in our contract. We encourage them to continue pursuing their dreams and wish them the best. We are grateful to our fans, who have been true believers from the beginning, and to our world-class partners. And to the Alliance coaches and employees who devoted their valuable time and considerable talent to this venture, we are forever grateful.”

The statement leaves several questions unanswered. For starters, who wrote it? It presumably came from AAF chairman Tom Dundon, although his name doesn’t appear on it and he’s been quiet since pulling the plug. AAF co-founder Bill Polian has said he’s no longer involved with the league, while the other AAF co-founder, Charlie Ebersol, has said nothing publicly since the league ended.

And what does it mean that the AAF will find “solutions for all outstanding issues”? Dundon is a billionaire and he could afford to make sure every player is compensated for travel and moving expenses and medical bills. Will he do so?

The reference to “ongoing legal processes” is also unclear. Is the AAF anticipating getting sued?

The end of the AAF was not handled well. This statement doesn’t go far enough.

75 responses to “AAF issues statement: “We are very sorry”

  1. Damage control crapola. The truth is their actions showed exactly how much they cared about their people. They could have said “the AAF will suspend operations on this future date” and given its employees the chance to wind things down gracefully. It did not. It cut everyone off st the knees to save a few bucks. They saw this coming and did not care for their people or partners.

  2. Dundon took them for a ride and stole the league from them. Oh well, another one bites the dust. Last chance for a long time will be Vince.

  3. It sucks. But everyday Americans have faced such notices on lesser paying jobs…

    And there were no pity parties.

  4. The billionaire’s plan to make lots more money off aspiring athletes failed and seriously hurt many hopefuls in multiple ways. The rich failed to make more money but you can bet they didn’t lose much either.

  5. Oh they are sorry, a sorry excuse for an organization. How do you launch a league without the ability to completely one season? It is inexcusable. Polian and Ebersol should be a shamed of themselves. Dundon is catching all the arrows but he’s just an investor. Polian and Ebersol are the co-founders. This mess needs to be laid at their feet.

  6. Am I the only one getting tired of hearing the word “suspend” misused, which means to temporarily halt? Let’s call it what it is…a cancellation.

  7. It seems like the NFL goes out of its way to make sure alternative leagues fail. I guess they don’t want any competition

  8. Polian is the worst one in this ownership group. For weeks he is the face of this thing doing all the talking and taking all the glory if there was any. The minute this thing goes south he immediately says he’s not part of the AAF. You cant have it both ways. Lesson learned don’t do business with Bill Polian.

  9. Dundon is a billionaire and he could afford to make sure every player is compensated for travel and moving expenses and medical bills. Will he do so?

    If anybody out there thinks the answer is yes, I’ve got a whole bunch of beautiful bridges to sell you at a huge onetime discount! Sale ends soon!

  10. The reference to “ongoing legal processes” means they will be filing bankruptcy soon and they want to protect their assets and asses from claims and lawsuits.

  11. What an embarrassing business launch and operation. Dreamed up, and initiated by a set of clowns. I mean how do you launch a damn business like this and shut it down in less than 6 months? This is just so comical, and the person(s) who launched this league should be personally sued

  12. And what does it mean that the AAF will find “solutions for all outstanding issues”? Dundon is a billionaire and he could afford to make sure every player is compensated for travel and moving expenses and medical bills. Will he do so?

    I doubt it

  13. I thought the league was going to be a joke till I saw the quality of play which really surprised me. At the end, the coaches and players really did an outstanding job and it was the folks on the business side who did not prepare and plan accordingly to be able to sustain it for even one season. Shame on them but a job well done to the coaches and players.

  14. Poor quality league. I hope they take Dundon’s shirt in the legal process. Polian too……..

  15. IMO until the nfl fields a funded and sanctioned minor league program, there will be no alternative league that survives. Attendance can not support these costs. Low television commitment creates cash flow problems. And relatively low merchandise sales can not offset huge expense. Without the funding directly nfl, leagues cannot occupy big time stadiums(see UCF) not pay coaches as if they were in the nfl, nor pay nearly what was being paid to the players. Sorry this did not work.

  16. I accept the apology.
    Believe it or not, not all business ventures are successful. Unlike your beloved federal government behemoth, who declares that EVERY program is successful, especially the multiple redundant ones, and you WILL believe it or else!
    There were risks with the AAF, the leadership took the risks and it backfired.
    No harm no foul.
    NO ONE was hurt from this venture. NO ONE.

  17. The statement should read “We are very $orry”. Because the bottom line almost always, somehow and someway, turns out to be the buck. I hope the players and assistant coaches can get their lives back on track after having the rug pulled from underneath them.

  18. And they wonder why fans are reluctant to invest. NFL Europe was a great farm system but the NFL screwed that up too- out of sheer greed.

  19. They gave it a shot and it didn’t work out. It’s a shame and I feel sorry for all those who are so badly affected by the league shutting down.

  20. troyparkerbmore44 says:
    April 6, 2019 at 6:43 am
    Dundon took them for a ride and stole the league from them.

    Robert “HandyMan” Kraft says:
    April 6, 2019 at 8:30 am
    Poor quality league. I hope they take Dundon’s shirt in the legal process. Polian too……..

    ————————————

    It’s sad that anyone has bought into the fiction that somehow the investor that Polian and Ebersol brought in at the 11th hour is on the hook for their ridiculously bad business plan. How on Earth could they have kicked of a new league without having first obtained secure funding for a minimum of it’s first couple of years of operation?

  21. Boeing is very sorry too for their planes dropping out of the sky.

    What does this have to do with AAF?

    Oh just lives ruined by people who will never be held accountable for their misdeeds.

    Protected by the scum sucking lawyers.

  22. A “developmental league” in football will never work. Look at all the 1st round draft picks, Heisman trophy winners, and other award winners that have not had any success in the NFL.You may find a few diamonds in the rough but they can be found in undrafted players.Allowing NFL teams to have larger practice squads would be a better option than a farm system of older players.

  23. I’m really disappointed by this. AAF had the potential to really be a great gap filler between the Superbowl and the start of training camp. You cant tell me that a feeder system where guys that were not drafted or guys that missed out on being in the 53 man roster can develop and improve was not a great idea. The game quality was hit and miss bus you cant deny that it was nice to have some sort of football. How many top 10 lists can you watch on NFL Network? I hope the XFL sits back and studies how this failed so badly and offers a spot for the players and coaches to land.

  24. Dundon should prioritize settling with all players and coaches as they provided the product as per contracts. Still don’t understand how someone like Bill Polian would allow for this scenario and how he miscalculated so severely the state of the league. Something is way off here.

  25. I love watching football,but most of that love is watching my favorite team play.Watching two teams that are 1-10 playing on Thursday night is a different story.Sometimes to much of something ruins a good thing.Monday night football, Thursday night football, college football, high school football, and all day Sunday football is to much football.

  26. I’ve said it before and say it again. Polian and Ebersol did not plan this well enough, but the primary blame here should be with Dundon. I know, I know, we all love to lay it all on Polian as usual, but the fundamental fact of the matter is that someone should not say that they’re willing to give $250 million when they’re actually willing to give less than half of that amount. Dundon made them think that their league had a shot when it really never did, all because he said he was willing to do more than he actually was.

  27. Exactly how many European football players made the NFL, CFL players? The avg career of an NFL player is short lived.You would assume if it was a feasible business adventure the “billionaire owners of NFL Teams” would invest in a farm system.

  28. Minor league football needs things other minor leagues don’t. They need a big TV deal to bring in revenue. They need to fill stadiums to turn a profit. Do you see those things in other minor leagues? No. If anyone thought this league had legs to succeed they are just conning themselves. The XFL won’t be any different. Better funded yes but investors will pull the plug early if it is hemorrhaging money. After this player will even more hesitant to pick the XFL over the more established CFL. Also if you guys want football so bad you could watch the CFL but the fact no one does is proof there isn’t a market for more football.

  29. AAF co-founder Bill Polian has said he’s no longer involved with the league
    ————————-
    Polian founded the league, it was his brilliant idea and when it proved to be a really stupid idea, he had nothing to do with it. The master of selective hindsight strikes again.

  30. What I do not understand, is why they tried to go with the Sam product, why not dial it back a few years , let them hit the quarterback, get rid of pass interference and all the new rules, at least if you went back to old school you may get some new fans , it was just a worst product of what everyone was complaining about

  31. Every business venture comes with risk. 90% of all business cloaes there doors within the first year. The worst business decision was to get in bed with Dundon who performed a hostile take over and cut and run when he couldn’t get access to the NFLPA player pool immediately. He should have known it wasn’t going to happen because its the “NFL”PA which has not rules or bylaws associated with any other leagues until they can adopt them during the next CBA which they would have little reason to do because the NFL players could careless about the AAF. They needed an AAFPA that would prevent players from jumping ship into the NFL unless the NFLPA agreed to allow players to go back and forth. The best way to approach it would have been to associate the AAF with the NFL from the get go but that probably wasn’t an option either.

  32. I know some people just won’t accept it but this fiasco is further proof of why nobody should give a crap about the circus Vince is about to start. The XFL can do one of two things….play with the same C level type players the AAF put on the field and be met with a lot of indifference or try and get NCAA players ( if they stick to a no criminal record rule how many is that going to eliminate for consideration right from the start….10-15% ) which means direct competition with the NFL and eventually getting crushed.

  33. rams645 says:
    April 6, 2019 at 10:29 am
    What I do not understand, is why they tried to go with the Sam product, why not dial it back a few years , let them hit the quarterback, get rid of pass interference and all the new rules, at least if you went back to old school you may get some new fans , it was just a worst product of what everyone was complaining about

    —————————

    Because a league with lesser talent won’t succeed if injuries are killing their rosters. Also if you want the NFL to loan you players they won’t want it their investments hurt.

  34. Most businesses fail withing the first year….. I am disappointed with the AAF folding, but I have been in the AAF’s shoes with a business I started. It takes some big boy balls to realize that it’s not working, and to pull the plug. Trust me, they knew they would be letting a lot of people down. It sucks to be in their shoes too.

  35. Dundon came in After the league started. Matter of fact after the 1st game. So how was this his fault? That’s like going on a cross country road trip and depending on hitch hikers to pay for everything.

  36. Show me a man who chased a dream and caught it. I’ll show you 10 that didn’t. This is what America is about. We take chances. We chase our dreams. Some of us end up Amazon. Some of us end up in a 9-5 raising children. Life is not fair people. If life was fair. My life would have looked more like Tom Brady’s. But 5’9″ isn’t QB height.

  37. I watched the games. I noticed a lot of empty seats. So I don’t know how critical ticket sales were for their business model to succeed, but to not at least finish one season and see what you have is absurd. They had four weeks left and two were playoffs. To fold after only eight games in tells me their business model was terribly flawed or they really didn’t have the stones it takes to run a startup. Either way, it’s a pathetic end to what may have been a good idea terribly managed.

  38. bratmanweb said:”
    April 6, 2019 at 6:57 am
    The billionaire’s plan to make lots more money off aspiring athletes failed and seriously hurt many hopefuls in multiple ways. The rich failed to make more money but you can bet they didn’t lose much either.”

    ——-
    Acting like a professional victim is no way to go through life. It is always the fault of someone else, never take personal responsibility.

    Did anyone honestly believe that spring football would be successful?

    Over the long haul spring football will never be successful. It will always be a money loser. There is too much of a history of spring football failure. If anyone thinks that a second XFL attempt will be successful, they’re sadly mistaken.

    Given the failure of the AAF, I won’t be shocked if the new and improved XFL never gets going.

  39. I’m sorry to see it go but apparently their business model didn’t include any sort of a marketing plan. The players and coaches should have known better.

  40. well lets see a billionaire and his lawyers yes this should end well .I mean there are players that were hurt during that 8 week league that have some serious injuries that occur and were placed on season ending /IR .These players medical bills are the 1st to line up to sue i am sure .The powers that be better hope there collection of lawyers crossed every T and dotted every I better than they had the financials all askew …if not Mr. Billionaire will be little lighter in the wallet …1 would hope but wont hold my breath ..

  41. Who was that agent who was popping off publicly about how Trevor Lawrence should quit Clemson and come play for the AAF? Rosenhaus? Whoever it was, I’d advise Lawrence to scratch that guy off his list of prospects right now.

  42. >For starters, who wrote it?

    The AAF wrote the statement.

    It does not matter which person typed the statement, or approved the statement, the words are those of the AAF. I am sure some number of lawyers and other professionals reviewed the statement, and probably helped the AAF figure out the exact language to use.

  43. It might turn out to be a blessing for quite a few of the Alliance players. The NFL scouted the league and now is the time for the draft and filling out NFL teams’ 90 man rosters.

  44. They’re ‘very very sorry’ but not going to make anyone or anybody financial right.

    Sort of like thoughts and prayers after a mass shooting.

  45. All I can think of is the South Park episode where the oil company keeps putting out commercials with the naked guy in the bearskin rug saying “sorry”.

  46. “It sucks. But everyday Americans have faced such notices on lesser paying jobs…

    And there were no pity parties.”

    ___

    Um, yes there were.

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