Former San Antonio Commanders G.M. Darryl “Moose” Johnston won’t be working for the AAF. But he could be doing plenty of work in the coming months because of the AAF.
Johnston’s recent comments to ESPN Radio’s San Antonio affiliate could make Johnston a key witness in the lawsuits already filed and any others that will be initiated based on the disconnect between representations regarding the funding that the AAF had and the reality that it lacked funding to finish a full season. The arguments made in every piece of litigation filed in connection with the demise of the AAF will be simple and clear: The AAF said the league had enough money to operate for multiple years, and the AAF in actuality did not have enough money to complete one.
“There were several people who took jobs with the Alliance because they were told they had two years, and they’re in a very difficult spot now at this stage,” Johnson said, adding that “people were misled” by the AAF. “This was something that caught me totally by surprise.”
While the remarks about the league’s financial viability may have been regarded when made as the kind of puffery and huckstering that makes the business world go round (and gets politicians elected to high office), Johnston’s comments show that, for the people who committed to the AAF, the question of whether it was a viable, multi-year endeavor or a seat-of-the-pants, close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best roll of the dice became an important factor in deciding to sign on.
For example, entities like UCF wouldn’t have spent $100,000 for police and other expenses associated with staging AAF games if there hadn’t been a clear impression that this was a viable, fully-funded football operation. If the truth of the situation had been known, UCF would have put the AAF on a COD arrangement. Without funding, the AAF wouldn’t have been able to get what it needed to even have a chance at pulling it off.
Now that the AAF is gone, plenty of people are holding the bag. And the argument will be that it’s a bag they never would have held if they’d known that the AAF’s back accounts were basically empty.