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AAF issues statement: “We are very sorry”

AAF Suspended Football

FILE - In this March 17, 2019, file photo, San Diego Fleet tight end Gavin Escobar (89) makes a critical first down catch on fourth and long over Birmingham Iron defensive back Max Redfield (20) late in the second half of an Alliance of American Football game in San Diego.The Alliance of American Football is suspending operations eight games into its first season. A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press the eight-team spring football league is not folding, but games will not be played this weekend. The decision was made by majority owner Tom Dundon. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because league officials were still working through details of the suspension. An announcement from the league is expected later Tuesday, April 2, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)


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.