Was NAL Fair to Carolina and New York?

Brief History of NAL Football Last Week

To begin with, last week had three NAL games in three nights. The first two were outstanding football games that both resulted in overtime. The Columbus Lions beat the Orlando Predators 52-46. The Jacksonville Sharks fended off a band of Pirates from Massachusetts 54-47. The third game of the week was a doozy, as the Carolina Cobras carried a decisive 46-0 lead into their locker room at halftime. What was missing in their locker room is what would send the whole league in a frenzy. A frenzy that is proving to be one of the most interesting situations in sports.

Several players had missing cash and items from their locker rooms. Villainous thievery was amiss! Cobras head coach, Billy Back, made the executive decision to call a “halt to the contest” and everyone went home. Angry fans requested refunds. Certainly, this looked really bad from the get-go because of the lack of security?

Cobras players march off the field.

The Aftermath

Many assumed that because the game was ended, the Cobras would be credited with another shut-out victory. This would cause a ripple effect that would result in the New York Streets folding. They have the leagues lowest attendance, and the writing on the wall might suggest a one-and-done fate for the expansion team. Streets owner Corey Galloway can’t seem to catch a financial break.

National Arena League Commissioner released a statement. I’d like to point out several things he said:

  1. “I addressed these issues with both teams, and the improved policies are to be implemented immediately.”
  2. “We owe it to our fans to play a complete game, and we owe it to our teams to provide adequate security.”
  3. “The home team, the New York Streets are fined for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the league – for not providing adequate security, especially following a theft at a previous home game.”
  4. “The visiting Carolina Cobras are fined for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the league – for not finishing the game.”
  5. “Carolina Head Coach Billy Back has been suspended one game. . . While coach Back’s intentions may have been to protect his players and the league. . .his decision had an adverse effect on the NAL. No coach should be placed in the position to make such a decision.”
  6. “Finally, because the Cobras refused to complete Sunday night’s game, the New York Streets will be awarded a win by forfeit.”

As you can imagine, this sent the Arena Football world in an uproar with statements like, “how do you fine and take a win away from a team that just got robbed!?”  “It was the Streets responsibility to provide security; they shouldn’t be awarded for this.”  All good points.

Making the Most Out of a Bad Situation

The Streets couldn’t provide adequate security, and something was stolen.  It happened, and we can’t change what happened!  Life is 10% what happens to us, and about 90 % how we react to it.  While many are upset with what went wrong, I’d like to share some things that were done right, and why I believe the NAL and their teams still deserve our attention and support.

  1. Head Coach Billy Back called a “halt” to the game to protect his players and their assets.  Back has their back. Honorable and considerate!
  2. Streets owner Corey Galloway took responsibility that the theft occurred, and reimbursed the Cobras players all the money that they were missing.  Honorable.
  3. Fans are disgruntled that they didn’t get a full game.  Streets owner Corey Galloway worked with the Westchester County Center to provide all fans with full refunds, which was sad for him considering it was their highest attendance since the team started.  Again, honorable, and the right thing to do.
  4. Chris Siegfried, Commissioner of the NAL (aka Mommy) issued fines to the Streets, for not providing adequate security (protecting the players) and to the Cobras for halting the game (in the interest of the fans).  Yes, I think this is honorable because the game isn’t about the teams.  It’s about the fans.  They are the ones paying for tickets.  Without fans, there is no league and no teams.  But Siegfried’s balanced statement showed he was trying to provide a better future for the fans and the teams.
  5. Billy Back was suspended for one game (a meaningless one) but will be back for the playoffs.  Siegfried needed to remind all coaches in future games to play out the full game, but he lightened the punishment and even mentioned that Back’s intentions were to “protect his players and the league”, in his league statement.  Just like any other team refusing to play a game (regardless of their reason), the Cobras were debited a loss via forfeit, because they didn’t finish the game.  Justifiable.  Would you have ruled different?
  6. Billy Back refuses to be bitter.  After the ruling, the awesome coach Tweeted, “Tough times don’t last, Tough people do. #bringit”  He’s moving on.  Honorable. https://twitter.com/3BackHC/status/1154777809560186882
  7. And finally, the NY Police caught the 18-year-old Connecticut female who robbed the locker room, and she faces some hefty charges that Corey Galloway will certainly be pushing.  Justifiable.

The NAL Playoffs are one week away! Let’s get back to football!!!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *