Ricky Williams, Other Ex-NFLers Starting Freedom Football League
As the XFL and AAF announce uniforms and city locations, it appears yet another league is "tossing its hat into the ring to compete with the NFL," according to Kevin Skiver of CBSSPORTS.com. Former NFLer Ricky Williams announced Thursday that the "Freedom Football League" will be joining the ranks, with Williams and Pro Football HOFer Terrell Owens among the names associated with the league. Williams said that there are "about 100 stakeholders with 50 former players among them." Other names "emerging as early owners" are former NFLers Jeff Garcia and Dexter Jackson. FFL games will be in the "spring and summer (avoiding colliding with the behemoth that is the NFL) and there will initially be 10 teams." The league's ultimate goal "appears to be to allow people to play football who are out of the NFL or even looking to get back into it" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/6). The FFL, which did "not specify what year it would begin play, will be financed by private funding and public offerings." The FFL "plans to have clubs" in San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, Birmingham, Oklahoma City, Portland, plus locations in Texas, Florida, Ohio and Connecticut (AP, 12/6).
STANDING OUT: Williams said the idea for the FFL started with a "bunch of guys sitting around the table talking about the good old days and realizing, ‘You know, we have a lot of experience. We’ve been there before, we know how to do it.'" Williams: “We talked about the disparity in income and that in the NFL, for example and most professional leagues, the owners are making all the money. Yes, the players have an ability to make money but when their career is over, then what?" ("OTL," ESPN, 12/6). CBSSN’s Gregg Giannotti said if the league is called the Freedom Football League “everything has to go,” including allowing “all helmet-to-helmet hits, all sorts of drugs during the game." Williams yesterday made a comment about players not having a voice in the NFL, and CBSSN’s Boomer Esiason said, "'Take away their voice.' What does he mean? Is it going to be one big protest league?" ("Boomer & Gio," CBSSN, 12/7).