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Looks like “40 Yards of Gold” match race participants won’t be paid

Florida Football Insiders

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like the participants in the South Florida organized match race tournament “40 Yards of Gold” will end up with nothing but “lint” to show for their efforts.

This as The Athletic’s business reporter Daniel Kaplan, wrote Tuesday that the main investor in the 16-man NFL player match race that took place in Sunrise two weeks ago, is now claiming that he is owed money by the organizers:

Kaplan, further identified for the first time the 40 year old California entrepreneur, Farzin Morena, who has apparently not been repaid on any of the financing and loans he did for the event. And while Morena won’t say how much he gave the organizers, Kaplan has a separate source that says it’s at least seven figures that Morena is owed.

And, that spells “Doom” for the winner of the tournament, 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, and his hopes to get anywhere close to $1 million for winning the event.

As we wrote last week, Goodwin, who is a former All-American track star at the University of Texas and Olympic trials team member for the United States, easily bested the 16 participant field. And, he was supposed to have been paid the grand prize by the promoters.

However, the agent for another participant, Vikings WR Jeff Badet, said then, that his client had yet to be paid his $25,000 guaranteed appearance fee that had been contractually assured.

Badet’s agent told Kaplan at the time:

“The contract was explicitly clear,” Will Sarubbi said. “Jeff was an independent contractor who was promised $25,000 upon arrival, before the event on June 29. That has not been paid as of 5:00pm today. It does not look likely it will be, based on the correspondence we have had.”

Former NFL star receiver, including with the Dolphins, Chad Johnson was one of the organizers, helped promote the match race event and was also part of the $39.95 pay-per-view Saturday night broadcast. The event took place at the arena that’s home to the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Johnson has had no public comment about whether he was paid anything by the “40 yards of Gold” organizers.

So, with it almost impossible that Goodwin will be paid $1,000,000 like had been billed in the ads and promised to the players, the only question is: will he and the others get something?

Morena, further told the Athletic that he only met the two organizers, including former Michigan football player Charles Stewart, in May and that he is not responsible to pay out the prize money,

“I am going to tell you right now, buddy, the only thing I had in this was to lend money and I was going to get it back,” Morena said. “It wasn’t laid out to me like, ‘OK, we need to pay for this, we need to pay for that.’ It was laid out to me, ‘Listen, we need this money and we will pay you back this much….. These guys are in over their heads.”

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Antonio Brown agent Rosenhaus- “not sure we’ve exhausted all options”

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing off-field mess involving new Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his outdated helmet and his refusal currently to participate in their training camp, has ties to South Florida.

That’s where Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus resides and he gave an update Sunday night on the situation from Browns point of view to WSVN TV. Rosenhaus is a weekly guest on their Sunday night “Sports Xtra” show during the football season and obviously Brown and his helmet issues are one of the top off the old topics in the NFL right now:

“I’m not sure that we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as Mike Mayock said. But there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union to come up with a solution. We haven’t figured it out yet,” Rosenhaus told the show.

He continued, “To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.” 

Brown is balking at having to switch to a new modernized helmet from the Schutt Air Advantage model helmet that he has been wearing throughout his nine-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The NFL contends that that helmet is outdated, too old and not safe. And, they denied Brown’s request to continue to use the helmet, when he filed a grievance with the league last week.

The only exception is: that if Brown can find a newer model of the helmet( less than 10 years old) and the NFL says that it will test it and potentially certify him to play with it. As of yet, Brown has not found a model that is within the guidelines and passes the test. So, Brown is back refusing to participate in workouts with his new team, the Raiders.

He is shown in the photo above, participating in pregame warmup last Thursday night with the Raiders in Arizona, while wearing the outlawed helmet. Brown did not play in the exhibition game.

On Sunday, Mayock, the Raiders new GM, who along with head coach Jon Gruden engineered the offseason trade for Brown from Pittsburgh to Oakland, publicly repeated frustration that Brown is refusing to come in practice with his team, that’s now in the fourth week of training camp.

Mayock told the Oakland media Sunday afternoon,

“You all know that A.B. is not here today. So here’s the bottom line. He’s pretty upset about the helmet issue,” Mayock said. “We have supported that. We appreciate that. But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So we’re hoping he’s back soon.”

Brown is from Miami Gardens and is a former star at Norland High School in Miami. He later went on to great success at Central Michigan and was picked in the sixth round by the Steelers in 2010. Brown is a seven time Pro Bowler and a four time first team All Pro and is regarded as one of the two or three best receivers in all of the NFL.

Almost all of the NFL players have switched over to the compliant newer football helmets and the league even created a special Sports Science Department that specifically to tests helmets and studies impact/head trauma.

Brown is part of a small group of players that have been “grandfathered in” during previous seasons to allow them wear the older helmets. That group includes, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees. However, the helmets have had to continue to undergo testing, and the league has now decided if they’re more than 10 years old they cannot be used in games.

That’s the issue with Brown.

The league wants the players to use a more modernized and safer helmet and Brown will not agree to do that for, now. However, he went through the mandated arbitration system and lost his appeal last week.

So, now, the standoff continues and intensifies, and it seems that despite Rosenhaus’ Sunday night “TV spin,” Brown is about to face punishment from his team for refusing to report, practice and play.

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NFL announced Wednesday Pro Bowl back in Orlando

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is obviously happy with Orlando as its location for its postseason Pro Bowl All-Star Game, and they demonstrated that again on Wednesday morning.

That’s when the league announced that for the fourth consecutive year the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played at Camping World Stadium the weekend before the Super Bowl:

For the last three years, the All-Star game has called Orlando it’s home, and there’s no doubt that football fans in Central Florida (and all over the country) have enjoyed coming to Central Florida to be part of the festivities that week.

However, the game itself has come under increasing criticism, and rightfully so, as the players involved seem less and less interested in it actually being a football game.

In fact, we went so far as to say that the NFL should stop playing the game, as it has devolved into a mockery of what a “football game” should look like. Here’s part of what we wrote last January:

At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.

No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.

A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.

This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.

Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.

Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.

It’s not even close.

Nonetheless, the Pro Bowl will continue and be televised again this season by ESPN on Sunday afternoon January 26th. The Super Bowl will be played the following week in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.

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