On Saturday, former NFL star Antonio Brown claimed that he was now the sole owner of the Albany Empire of the National Arena League. The team's co-owners disagreed with Brown's claim. The Empire opened their season on Sunday afternoon at the MVP Arena with a 70-33 crushing of the Orlando Predators, despite the ownership confusion.

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On March 7th, owners of the Albany Empire, Mike Kwarta and minority stakeholders Charlotte and Steve von Schiller announced that they had sold a stake in the team to Brown. Immediately, Brown's father, Eddie Brown of the "Touchdown Eddie Brown" fame from his Albany Firebirds days, took a position in the team's front office. On Friday, Kwarta, the von Schillers and team President Matt Woods were removed from the Empire website albanyempirenal.com.

YouTube.com / Albany Empire NAL
YouTube.com / Albany Empire NAL
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The confusion continued on Saturday, Antonio Brown spoke to timesunion.com, “I’m the owner, 100 percent owner. I don’t take that lightly. My job as the owner (is) to provide the players and community, the front office, everyone that experience, the experience of Albany, and I’m excited about that role.” Kwarta responded by telling the Times Union that there’s been no change in ownership since Brown first joined the team. According to Kwarta, he and Brown each own 47.5 percent of the team, with the von Schillers own the remaining 5 percent. Monday morning, Kwarta, the von Schillers and Woods were listed in their respective positions on the site.

Facebook / Albany Empire
Facebook / Albany Empire
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Hopefully, the Empire's ownership dust settles soon. Mike Kwarta, along with the von Schillers saved arena football for the Albany fanbase, at their own personal expense, during an extremely difficult time following the pandemic. That should not go unappreciated. It is terrific to have big name partner like Antonio Brown, as long as that person understands the meaning of a partnership. Brown never seemed extremely concerned with his teammates. Hopefully, that changes as one of the owners of the Albany Empire.

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