Antonio Brown

The Albany Empire, an arena football team recently acquired by Antonio Brown, are no more. The Empire are ceasing operations over multiple missed payments to the National Arena League, including delinquent monthly dues for April, May and June.

Following an emergency meeting earlier this week, the NAL’s board of owners issued an ultimatum. They gave former NFL star Brown until Thursday at noon ET to pay all outstanding debts, including a $1,000 fine for “Conduct Detrimental to the League.” After that deadline came and went, the NAL moved to revoke Albany’s membership Thursday. That includes canceling the Empire’s remaining 2023 schedule, including Saturday’s home game against Jacksonville.

“After exhausting all avenues, the NAL board of owners have decided unanimously to terminate the membership agreement of the Albany Empire,” read Thursday’s press release. “The league will be adjusting the rest of the 2023 regular season schedule and will announce the updated schedule in the near future. We want to thank all of our fans for their continued support.”

Debuting as an expansion team in 2021, the Empire won consecutive titles before slumping to last-place this season (1-7). Albany’s expulsion from the league comes mere hours after a shirtless Brown gave a bizarre interview to local media, implying his team was on the verge of being promoted to arena football’s highest division, the AFL.

Brown’s train wreck of an ownership tenure is par for the course for him. It’s the latest sad chapter for a once-great receiver who was probably on a Hall of Fame trajectory before erratic behavior derailed his career, succumbing to his own self-destructive tendencies.

[National Arena League]

About Jesse Pantuosco

Jesse Pantuosco joined Awful Announcing as a contributing writer in May 2023. He’s also written for Audacy and NBC Sports. A graduate of Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s degree in creative writing from Fairfield University, Pantuosco has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. He lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and never misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Patriots game.