AIFA Announces Historic Partnership With Hip-Hop Mogul Damon Dash.

The American Indoor Football Alliance (AIFA) Announces Major Partnership 

Entertainment and Football Team Up to Form the Perfect Alliance 

Tampa, FL – Monday, February 21, 2022, at 11 AM at the JW Marriott the AIFA made a major partnership announcement, announcing co-founder of Rockafellar records, hip-hop & fashion mogul, movie producer, entrepreneur & philanthropist Damon Dash as the new co-ownwer of the AIFA & Tampa Bay Cyclones franchise.

A strategic partnership of epic proportions, effectively strengthening the alliance commissioner & co-owner of the Tampa Bay Cyclones Alton Walker has built thus far.

With this move the AIFA turns heads, raises awareness & executes on their promise which the league was founded upon, empowering the African American & minority community in football @ all levels, from the top down.

A league where otherwise overlooked players, coaches & owners have a real chance to succeed, not only on the football field, but off the field as well.

This brand new all minority owned arena football league couldn’t have come @ better time either, as the NFL is taking fire from all directions. Dealing with claims of systematic racism, sham black HC interviews & even black HC’s being paid to lose has consumed the media cycle in previous months.

Incase you’ve been living under a rock, recently fired Miami Dolphins HC Brian Flores filed a lawsuit accusing the National Football League and 3 teams of discriminating against Black candidates for coaching and management jobs. In a class action complaint in Manhattan federal court, Flores said his firing by the Dolphins last month after back-to-back seasons with winning records was emblematic of the treatment of Black coaches, who comprise a fraction of team staff while 70% of NFL players are Black.

“When Black coaches are hired, they are paid less than their white counterparts and are more likely to be fired over disagreements with team ownership”, Flores claimed.

He also claims teams have conducted “sham interviews” with Black candidates to satisfy a 2003 NFL policy known as the “Rooney Rule”, requiring teams to interview minorities before making final decisions.

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The lawsuit seeks to force the NFL to make a series of changes, incentivize teams to hire Black coaches and general managers, and require teams to explain hiring and termination decisions in writing.

In a statement responding to the suit, the NFL said the claims were without merit. It said the NFL and it clubs were committed to ensuring equitable employment practices.

Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to the claims saying “diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time” however, it’s quite clear those efforts as well intended as they may be, have not been enough.

Flores, who won 24 games over three seasons with the Dolphins, said in the lawsuit that the NFL had failed to reckon with a decades-long history of race discrimination.

Flores claims New York Giants interviewed him for a head coach position , but that the team had already decided to hire a white coach, Brian Daboll. The allegation stemmed from a text message Flores received from Patriots HC Bellichick congratulating him on the Giants HC hiring, which arrived before he even conducted the interview.

The text was later recanted by Bellichick, who claims he accidentally text “the wrong Brian”, making it appear that the Giants already made their decision prior to Flores’s interview, in a pretty cut & clear case of using the 2003 “Rooney rule” as a gimmick.

The lawsuit also accuses the NFL and its teams of violating federal and state laws prohibiting workplace race discrimination.

“My sincere hope is that by standing up against systemic racism in the NFL, others will join me to ensure that positive change is made for generations to come,” Flores said.

Between the apparent lack of diversity in front office & ownership positions inside the NFL, coupled together with a clear disconnect between ownership & minorities to comprise a comprehensive plan for change, the perfect breeding ground for new league founded on change was born.

Last month the AIFA officially announced it’s formation as the newest arena football league. To make things even more interesting, the AIFA is the first & only league that is 100% minority owned & coached. The Alliance season is slated to begin on March 26, 2022, with the Kickoff Classic in Jackson, MS.

The AIFA teams include the Tampa Bay Cyclones, Mississippi Raiders, St. Charles Bandits, Fayetteville Predators, and the Las Vegas Kings, with a handful of other franchises currently in the works.

“The creation of the AIFA is the culmination of prayers and hard work. This did not happen overnight. I have been a part of several leagues, none of whom placed the players and the owners first. The AIFA is people-focused, people-centered & based on growing and building talented football players , while equipping them with the tools needed to create a successful life if football does not work out,” said Alton Walker, AIFA Commissioner, and Tampa Bay Cyclones team owner. 

The AIFA calls Tampa, Florida home and is proud to be among winning organizations like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Lighting, and the Rays. While Alton is the AIFA Commissioner, his team, the Tampa Bay Cyclones, is his pride and joy. “We plan on bringing another championship back to Tampa Bay and the region.” 

For many football players, arena league football is a stop-gap or a stepping-stone towards recruitment to the NFL. More importantly, this league and its teams want to provide solid opportunities for HBCU players who do not traditionally get the nod or invitation to the NFL combine. 

The AIFA is already making big moves and has accepted an invitation to this year’s National Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. This invitation is history-making as the AIFA is the only arena league ever invited to the combine. 

Whether it’s fate, or just coincidence this historic partnership was announced in black history month, putting an extra exclamation mark on an already bold statement.

The AIFA now sits in an unprecedented position to become the catalyst upon which the sports landscape is changed forever, so long as the execution is there. With a partner like Damon Dash on board now, the AIFA has massive potential for growth & will be an amazing story to watch unfold, as we sit on the cusp of their debut season.

Stay tuned to NSPN – Champa Bay TV, the official sports media outlet of the Tampa Bay Cyclones.

Much much more is coming soon…

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Eric White