Some Runners From 40 Yards Of Gold Remain Unpaid
At least some participants in last Saturday’s 40 Yards of Gold sprint competition still haven’t received payments despite promises from organizers that cash would come Friday, according to two player reps. NFL agent Will Sarubbi, who represents Vikings WR Jeff Badet, said his client has not received $25,000 he was promised as an appearance fee. Badet lost his first-round race and did not qualify for prizes.
“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.”
In a text message on Friday, 40 Yards of Gold co-Founder Charles Stewart said: “Every participant will be paid.” He declined to provide an explanation for the delays or give assurances about when money would be coming. After the races, players were given checks, but were told they could not cash them until Friday, according to Sean Lindsey, a Ft. Lauderdale-based lawyer who represents a participant he declined to identify. However, both Lindsay and Sarubbi noted event organizers on Thursday told players to scrap the checks, and instead provide bank information to facilitate a wire transfer. The wire transfers didn’t happen on Friday, Lindsey and Sarubbi said.
A week’s delay for prize money is not, by itself, cause for suspicion, Lindsey said. But the practice of giving them worthless checks and changing stories has players concerned. “As to whether the money’s there or not, I don’t know,” Lindsey said. “I hope it is. The one thing I despise the most in this industry is individuals trying to take advantage of professional athletes. I don’t know if that’s what’s going on here. I hope not. But these guys need to get paid."
The 40 Yards of Gold property pitted 16 pro football players in a single-elimination 40-yard dash tournament, with a promise of a $1M first-place prize and smaller prizes for various runners-up. 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin won first place. Stewart and event co-Founder Alijah Bradley said they had an investor behind them, but declined to identify the investor or how much capital they had on hand. The event drew a crowd of between 2,000-3,000 people at BB&T Center in South Florida and was available on pay-per-view. PPV stats have not been released.