I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the coaches, players and staff of the Opelika Chiefs semi-pro football team to say a heartfelt “Thank You” to our fans and supporters who have played such an important role in this team’s 8-0 inaugural season.
As many of you have heard, this undefeated team has been removed from the XSFL League and has subsequently been stripped of the opportunity to not only play in, but host, the league championship game. These are the events that led up to this decision, instigated by the League Commissioner, Dan Todd of Mobile. On May 27, there was a conference call between the Commissioner and XSFL team owners concerning a decision Todd had made regarding a member of the Chiefs coaching staff. During the course of this call, I questioned the decision and it was apparent that Todd was not accustomed to having to justify any decisions he made even if they were contrary to the league operating regulations. At the time I didn’t realize the lengths he was capable of going to or the damage he was willing to inflict on 47 young men to simply maintain absolute control.
The following Tuesday, June 2, I received an email from Todd informing me of another conference call he had conducted the previous evening with other team owners that resulted in a vote being taken to remove the Opelika Chiefs from the XSFL League. I never received notification of this conference call until after the fact. Todd quoted two infractions in the league operating regulations the Opelika Chiefs had allegedly committed. They were:
-Monetary compensation of players
-Failure to comply with investigation of alleged rules violations
The Opelika Chiefs has never paid any player. The XSFL operates under NCAA rules and if a player is paid he would lose eligibility to compete on a college level. The management of the Chiefs is very aware of this rule and strictly adhered to it.
When we were made aware of an investigation, we promptly complied with any and all requests for information from Tony Broadnax, director of football operations for the XSFL.
I, as well as the legal counsel for the Opelika Chiefs tried diligently to contact Todd for more than a week by telephone, mail and electronic correspondence without success. We were never provided with any evidence that warranted a suspension or removal from the league. In conversations with other team owners it was revealed to me that they were also never shown any evidence, they voted based on nothing but information given to them verbally by Todd in the June 1st conference call. One owner told me that he was afraid he made his decision based on inaccurate information after I sent him copies of emails and text messages refuting the supposed evidence they were given during the telephone call with Todd. Two of the owners told me they had called Todd and requested another conference call be held to review their earlier decision in light of the information we had provided. These requests were denied by Todd.
When my son Hunter and I formed the Opelika Chiefs, it was with the intention of using it as a ministry to give young men an opportunity to play the game they love and be a part of something bigger than themselves; a team the community could be proud of not only because of their success on the field but because they gave back to the community. I am proud to say we accomplished that and much more. Our volunteer coaching and management staffs worked hard to instill a sense of community in these men and bring them together as a team and family. As the season progressed we understood that team and family was much greater than “me” or “I”.
Because the threat of losing control is more important to one man than the bigger picture of family and community, the Opelika Chiefs have been victimized individually and collectively in this scandal based on nothing but an obsession to control. These young men who range in age from 18 – 40 have been targeted because they dared to be winners both on the field and off.
In closing I can say without any reservation that no Chiefs player, coach, staff or management is guilty of any of the allegations that have been hurled at them and the Opelika Chiefs will return next year as part of a larger, more professional league.
Thank you for your prayers, support and encouragement for our team, staff and their families.
Randy Price, Owner