Memphis Express president says he’s ‘heartbroken’ for AAF players, coaches after league folds

Memphis Express president says he’s ‘heartbroken’ for AAF players, coaches after league folds

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The fall of the Alliance of American Football hasn’t been graceful.

The league and its franchises are facing backlash from businesses looking to get paid for their services.

WMC Action News 5 Sports Director Jarvis Greer sat down with Memphis Express team president Kosha Irby, who has a tough task ahead.

For as many minor league pro football operations the city has seen come and go, the crash and burn of the Alliance of American Football has been the most spectacular fall of them all.

Now, Irby is left to pick up the pieces in Memphis.

Irby is the Team President of the Memphis Express. It's him, not quarterback Johnny Manziel or Head Coach Mike Singletary, that's now the face of a defunct franchise scrambling to pay its debts.

"I can't say where the money is because I’m not the one controlling the purse strings at this point,” Irby said. “For me, I think you gotta realize of the face of the majority of those deals around town. So, I feel heartbroken for those guys who are in the current situation of asking you know, where is X or what is happening, and all of that."

Irby is one of just three front office employees left out of about 40 who helped start up the team in Memphis.

That doesn't include the 53 players who put on the Express uniform, only to get charged for their Sonesta hotel rooms when AAF owner Tom Dundon decided to pull the plug on the league this week, just eight games into a 10 game season.

"We had guys who just got told their playing days are over in terms of this season, then go back to our partner hotel and for them to go kick those guys out onto the street, is unfortunate for them," Irby said.

WMC5 reached out to the Sonesta and got this response:

“Regarding the Memphis Express, this is a very challenging time for players and vendors working with the AAF. We’ve been working with the AAF Memphis Express team president throughout the day today to resolve the outstanding payment for the team’s accommodations for the second half of the season. Our hope is to have this resolved for the players very soon. We’re communicating directly with the team members with the resolution of the outstanding charges.”

Irby himself is now officially without a job and said all vendors looking for payment will now deal directly with the AAF.

He said anyone who bought a ticket for what would have been the Express final home game April 13 should receive a refund from the League soon.

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