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Antonio Brown’s first two months as the owner of an arena football team have been anything but ordinary. His most recent controversy is even more confusing, and now he may be joined by two former NFL brothers.
Brown took over as the majority owner of the Albany Empire of the National Arena League in March. He has attempted or made 12 head coaching changes in just seven weeks.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Other incidents/controversies include:
- Brown has tried to recruit Cam Newton with a six-figure salary.
- Players left the team over late payments.
- Brown was removed from his own team’s field before a game.
- Brown had to apologize and make good on a bill after not paying for team meal.
And then there was the false promise of his return to the gridiron.
Brown has not recorded a down of football since his bizarre exit in the middle of a game between the Buccaneers and Jets. That occurred Jan. 2, 2022.
He said late last month that he was going to suit up for the Empire on May 27. Albany sold tickets as if Brown was going to play.
He did not.
Antonio Brown says he is going to try again.
After failing to make good on his promise last month, Brown announced that he will play against the Jacksonville Sharks on June 17. Or so he says.
Yes, I’m going to play. We’re trying to bring a celebration to the stadium. Celebrate the Black community. So I’m definitely going to play June 17. We’re going to have a big celebration for Juneteenth.— Antonio Brown in an interview with WNYT’s Roger Wyland
Albany will play next on June 9, but it’s a road game. Brown is going to get back on the field for the first time in more than a year in front of his home crowd. Maybe.
To make things even more interesting, Maurkice and Mike Pouncey might play with him.
Maurkice offered the idea over the weekend.
Brown suggested that it might actually happen.
Maurkice and Brown played together on the Pittsburgh Steelers. He and his twin brother, Mike, are both 33 years old and three years retired from the NFL.
More than likely, it is just a promotional stunt and a joke amongst friends. But there is always a chance that the Pouncey twins could block for the Empire as Brown catches passes. Why not?
AB’s announcement comes amidst another controversy!
Albany police were called to the Holiday Inn Express at 300 Broadway just after 9 p.m. on Friday. The Empire players have been housed in the hotel throughout the 2023 season.
According to Mark Singelais of the Times Union, Brown was asked to leave the hotel after complaints of loud music and the use of marijuana. No charges were filed and Brown was cooperative.
When asked about the situation, Brown misidentified the hotel and tried to explain what happened. His video statement to the Times Union only made things more confusing.
Just got kicked out the Holiday Inn Marriott. They said I was trespassing. I’ve been here for like 60 days. It’s part of moving and trying to be a young Black entrepreneur, a young owner.— Antonio Brown, via the Times Union
His later text that was intended to clear things up did not. Brown told the Times Union that he accepted an offer from Holiday Inn Express owner Morris Oiring to have him and his team stay at the hotel.
Unfortunately, things did not play out in the same mutually respectful manner as Brown was bombarded by not only the hotel staff, but by the Albany Police force as well, and forced to leave the premises.— Antonio Brown, via the Times Union
The 34-year-old added that he did not receive a warning, and “surely no professionalism.”
Prior to his statements, Brown’s associate Alberony Denis called the incident “a misunderstanding.” Considering that there is not a definitive understanding as to what happened, that sounds about right.
Oiring, the hotel owner, later called it a “miscommunication.”
Neither Brown nor Oiring’s statement helped to provide a full picture of what went down. It’s all as puzzling as it sounds, but it seems as if the dust has settled and neither Brown nor the Empire arena going anywhere.