Ex-NFL players create Freedom Football League
Another professional football league — the Freedom Football League — has been created by former NFL players, including Ricky Williams, Terrell Owens and Simeon Rice, with the intention of “reimagining, rethinking, reinventing and reforming” the game, it was announced Thursday.
The FFL, who early founders also include Byron Chamberlain, Jeff Garcia and Dexter Jackson, said the league would initially have 10 teams — with plans to expand into additional locations — and games would take place during the spring and summer.
The league did not say when it would begin play, though it did say the first 10 teams would be the San Diego Warriors, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, Texas Revolution, Ohio Players, Florida Strong, Birmingham Kings, St. Louis Independence, Connecticut Underground and Oakland Panthers.
The FFL said in a statement that its mission is “to attract football players at their highest level of athletic ability, including those defecting from the NFL, graduating college or high school or playing in international or alternative professional football leagues.”
The league said it would be financed through a combination of private funding and public offerings in 2019, meaning fans would be “true owners and legally-committed business partners.”
As for players, the FFL said it would ensure they would receive “permanent and reliable holistic health and wellness support on and off the field.” In addition, the league said it would encourage athletes to address societal challenges and other “hot-button” issues.
“The Freedom Football League is the perfect integration of my passion for social justice, economic equality and health and wellness, with my life-long dedication and love for professional football,” Williams said in a statement. “As much as I’d like to throw on the pads and play, this league is designed to bring competitive football back to the masses, providing players and fans alike with the economic benefits of owning stake in a team, while also ensuring players are empowered to use their public platform for social good.”