Another football league is in the works and former NFL players such as Ricky Williams and Terrell Owens are behind it.
FILE PHOTO: Cast member Ricky Williams poses after a panel for “The New Celebrity Apprentice” in Universal City, California, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
The Freedom Football League doesn’t have a launch season but Williams said it would begin with 10 teams and would play games in spring and summer.
“The purpose of this league … is about community and the development of players,” Williams told ESPN’s Outside The Lines. “… In thinking about creating this league, I wanted to create a league that I could have stayed in and been comfortable and really thrived.
“The NFL started a long time ago, and since then a lot of things have changed. And we want to create a league that’s ready for that change and invite some more of it.”
The FFL said in a press release that players will be encouraged to “address society’s challenges relating to social justice, wealth disparity, health and wellness and more hot-button issues they are passionate about.”
The league said players will also receive “permanent and reliable holistic health and wellness support on and off the field.”
“We’re trying to develop young men,” Williams said on OTL. “You can’t take away their voice and expect them to develop. … When I grew up watching football, I really wanted to be like Jim Brown, not because of what he did on a field, but because he could take that platform and have a voice.
“And so, when I got to the NFL, expecting that to be the case, anytime a big social issue came up, we were told, ‘Be quiet. … It’s a distraction.’ And so, really, (we’re) changing the conversation.”
The league’s first 10 teams will be the Birmingham Kings, Connecticut Underground, Florida Strong, Oakland Panthers, Ohio Players, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, St. Louis Independence, San Diego Warriors and Texas Revolution.
Among the other former NFL players involved in the FFL are Simeon Rice, Jeff Garcia, Byron Chamberlain and Dexter Jackson.
Williams won the Heisman Trophy for Texas in 1998 and rushed for 10,009 yards for three NFL teams from 1999-2011. He is one of 31 players to surpass 10,000 career yards.
Two other professional leagues are in the works. The Alliance of American Football begins play on Feb. 9 while the XFL is slated to begin play in Feb. 2020.
—Field Level Media