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Will participants in last week’s “40 yards of Gold” ever see any money?

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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There was no doubt last Saturday night who was the fastest current NFL player was at the “40 yards of Gold” match race event in Sunrise at the BB&T Center. However, six days after the event, there’s now real doubt as to whether most or all of the participants are ever going to see their money.

Sports Business Journal reported late Friday afternoon that several of the participants, including the winner Marquise Goodwin of the 49ers (above), in the made for TV match race tournament have still not been paid anything despite having been assured guaranteed money for showing up:

Goodwin a former All-American track star at the University of Texas and Olympic trials team member for the United States, easily bested 16 participant field. And, he was supposed to have been paid $1 million by the promoters.

However, a report from the agent for Vikings WR Jeff Badet saying that his client had yet to be paid his $25,000 guaranteed appearance fee that he was contractually assured of for the event continued on Friday. So, there is great doubt that Goodwin will ever receive most or all of that large sum of money.

Badet’s agent told SBJ late Friday afternoon:

“The contract was explicitly clear,” 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, 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 broadcast.

However, a couple of the prominent participants: Saints receiver Ted Ginn and Giants defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie apparently got wind that there might be something dubious going on. And, they chose not to show up and participate despite having been listed on promotional materials and the event’s website.

We reported that a Miami media source had told us prior to last Saturday night there was not a crowd of more than 2,000 to be expected to attend, as ticket sales had been poor leading up to the event. Media members, and a separate source who we talked to that was in the building last Saturday all reported that the dimly-lit BB&T Center had fewer than 4,000 and probably closer to 2,000 or less people mainly in the lower level.

SBJ also learned that the promoter/founder of the event, Charles Stewart, had been telling participants that they would now be wired the money for participation, etc., but on Friday that came and went.

So now, there is a very real likelihood that the entire event turns out to be the latest scam that only reminds current players to be wary of anyone trying to use their likeness, abilities and time, especially if they’re hoping to be paid for it.

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Former Gators kicker Pineiro is Chicago hero- for now

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Every week in the NFL there are heroes in the clutch for different franchises. However, in a market like Chicago with the rabid, massive following like the Chicago Bears, when you do something dramatic to help them win everything is taken up to a new level.

That’s something that new kicker, and former Florida Gator Eddy Pineiro, is experiencing after his dramatic game-winning 53 yard field goal with no time left in Denver Sunday gave the Bears a 16-14 win.

First, it looked as though the Bears had blown the game when they allowed Denver’s Joe Flacco to lead a last-minute scoring drive that resulted in a dramatic touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with :31 seconds left. And, then, the two hooked up on the go ahead two-point conversion to Sanders for 14 – 13 lead.

But undaunted, the Bears, led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, got into scoring position on a 25-yard completion to the Broncos 25 to Allen Robinson with just :01 remaining.

That’s when Pineiro, who had kicked two lengthy field goals earlier in the game, stepped on the Mile High turf and calmly, with 80,000 Bronco fans going berserk, booted home a line drive game-winner to make the Bears 1 – 1.

As we wrote earlier this month, Pineiro, a second year player, had won the Bears kicking job coming out of preseason. Pineiro won the spot over Elliott Fry by hitting a 58-yard field goal against the Colts, followed by another 3-for-3 against the Titans in August.

And Gators fans will remember the Miami native having a good college career at Florida. He made 17/18 FG’s during the Gators miserable 2017 season. And combined with his 21/25 the year before, he totaled an 88% field goal career mark.

Pineiro declared for the 2018 NFL Draft after only two seasons with the Gators, but went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in May of 2018, however, he was placed on injured reserve last September. Earlier this summer, he was traded to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Finally, let’s keep in perspective that we are not talking Chicago icon status like: Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Ernie Banks and Patrick Kane have.

Still, it was a large moment early in his tenuous Bears kicking career and Pineiro is celebrating, like he should.

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Many state fans still without ACC Network

ESPN and the Atlantic Coast Conference launched the 24-hour ACC television network in the middle of last month. But for all of the fanfare and build up, there are still hundreds of thousands of football fans in the state of Florida who are without the channel headed into the first weekend of September.

And now, that’s about to be problematic with a scheduled Saturday triple-header of games that will involve FSU, the Miami Hurricanes and the USF Bull’s all being televised, exclusively on the channel.

Now, the ACC and ESPN announced Thursday night a deal with Cox Communications, which serves a good portion of the state and will obviously make their customers happy:

The ACC, led by Commissioner John Swofford (above),  also previously announced a deal with Spectrum Communications to carry the ACC Network. That is a significant amount of coverage in Florida.

And, the ACCN is also available through satellite services like DirecTV and Dish. Plus, it’s available on streaming services like Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV for individual fees.

However, while the ACC and ESPN continue to update new deals being done with providers, customers with Comcast / Xfinity, Frontier Communications and AT&T U-verse are still waiting for the channel. And, those outlets represent hundreds of thousands of college football fans in the combined markets of Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

Fans in those markets with those providers already missed last Thursday night’s opener with #1 Clemson and Georgia Tech, were without last Saturday’s ACCN games, and more importantly, possibly won’t to see their favorite school on the triple header Saturday.

That starts with USF at Georgia Tech at 2 p.m., followed by Florida State hosting Louisiana-Monroe and capped Saturday night by Miami’s opening conference game at North Carolina.

All to be shown exclusively, on the ACCN.

The crux of the problem is the amount of money that ESPN is looking to recoup from each individual customer of the provider. It is the same model that they have followed previously with the SEC Network and with their biggest channels like ESPN and ESPN2.

ESPN and the SEC had much more leverage five years ago at the launch of that television network with a much more rabid following. The SEC Network was picked up by every major provider in the state of Florida before games were ever played in the 2014 season.

Again, ESPN and the conference are negotiating non-stop and may very well get deals with the above major providers that are still holding out. But, it’s entirely possible that when the Noles, the Canes and the Bulls hit the field Saturday many of their fans in the state will not be able to see it, on TV, an app, nothing.

You’ve been warned.

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