MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – It’s been a month since the Georgia Doom played their final game of the 2018 season, and at least one former player says he’s still waiting for his final paycheck.
“I haven’t heard anything back since then, so I can’t say that I’ve been compensated for that last game against Atlanta,” wide receiver and defensive back Christian Wise said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m still waiting for that myself.”
Wise, who has spent a decade playing in arena leagues including the Arena Football League and China Arena Football League, says he was “upset” and “devastated” when he learned the Doom wouldn’t be going to the American Arena League postseason despite earning a spot with a win against Atlanta in their regular season finale on June 9.
“Especially being that I just saw him (team owner Kevin Adkins) right when the game ended and talked to him about it,” Wise said. “It was no word of anything.”
Adkins appeared on 41NBC’s 41Today show Tuesday for an exclusive interview with Ty Wilson.
“Absolutely, he’s correct,” Adkins said. “The address he had on file was a California address, and so the check got sent back. About three or four players had the same situation. I got with the payroll department. We’re getting them squared away. So he’s absolutely correct about not receiving the check, but that’s not an accurate statement from everybody on the team.”
Until Tuesday, Adkins’ only communication with 41NBC was a June 13 text message to Wilson, in which he said he would not answer questions about the playoff situation and that he was looking forward to next season.
The team learned their season was over the day after their win over Atlanta. Wise wishes they would have been told sooner.
“I could have went to my grandmother’s funeral instead of playing, trying to think we would need this game to go to the playoffs,” he said. “I would have been able to handle my family situation instead of that, and that’s also why I was a little upset, because he wasn’t up front, especially being that what I heard is that they’d known even a couple of weeks prior to that happening that everything was already well into motion that we weren’t going to be playing in the playoffs.”
AAL president Jack Bowman told 41NBC the team’s ownership voluntarily withdrew from the playoffs by e-mail.
“The AAL is not required to know all the specifics of the Doom’s decision, only that the team followed the proper league protocol in following through with its decision,” Bowman wrote in a June 11 e-mail.
When asked by Wilson Tuesday if he was the one who “made the call” in the Doom’s withdrawal from the postseason, Adkins said he couldn’t elaborate.
“But I can tell you this: From a financial standpoint, we definitely need the support of Macon to embrace a little bit more,” he said. “We need more sponsorships. We need more people to attend the games. But from a legal reason, I can’t partake in exactly why we couldn’t get into the playoffs.”
Gerald Dockery, who replaced Derek Stingley as the team’s head coach midway through the season, said in a July 2 interview he would not be with the team in 2019.
Wise, now a free agent, says he joined the Doom—a first-year team in a first-year league—with the understanding that nothing is going to be perfect in its first year.
“Being in any organization, it doesn’t matter where you go or any job, it’s going to be some type of chinks.”
He didn’t expect the season to end the way it did, however, or what happened next.
“There was nothing there,” he said. “Took everything, all the furniture, everything. I guess it was because the bills weren’t paid to the apartment, to Rent-A-Center, I guess whatever else was under payments with the team.”
“Being that this is a game I’ve played for a long time, given a lot to, for someone or organization to just pull the rugs from under you, and then say, ‘Good luck, you have to move out of your apartment,’ basically the next day, and, ‘We’re not paying you,’ I think anybody would be upset about that.”
“A lot of guys were relying on that money to commute or go home and that was definitely unfair, especially for young guys that are still having issues now and were expecting to have their money to be able to make whatever moves they needed to have at that time.”
Despite the way things have gone, Wise acknowledges it could have been “a lot worse.”
“Guys could have been displaced in the middle of the season and having to find hotels or not getting paid in the middle of the season,” he said.
“This all ended up happening at the very end.”