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Will Birmingham play in the Freedom Football League?

December 6, 2018
The formation of a new spring professional football league was announced today, the Freedom Football League. Birmingham was one of the 10 cities named that will receive inaugural franchises.

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  Freedom Football League
co-founder Ricky Williams
The league is the result of over 50 former National Football League players joining 50 other investors. Most notable of the former players is Ricky Williams, Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, and Simeon Rice.

The Birmingham Kings will be joined by the San Diego Warriors, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, Texas Revolution, Ohio Players, Florida Strong, St. Louis Independence, Connecticut Underground, and Oakland Panthers.

The FFL's goal will be to reimage, rethink, reinvent and reform the game.

According the Williams, "The purpose of this league is about community and the development of players. In thinking about creating this league, I wanted to create a league that I could have stayed in and been comfortable and really thrived. The NFL started a long time ago, and since then a lot of things have changed. And we want to create a league that's ready for that change and invite some more of it."

The FFL says its mission is "to attract football players at their highest level of athletic ability, including those defecting from the NFL, graduating college or high school or playing in international or alternative professional football leagues." The players would receive "permanent and reliable holistic health and wellness support on and off the field."

In addition, the league said it would encourage athletes to address societal challenges and other "hot button" issues. "We're trying to develop young men. You can't take away their voice and expect them to develop. When I grew up watching football, I really wanted to be like Jim Brown, not because of what he did on a field, but because he could take that platform and have a voice. And so, when I got to the NFL, expecting that to be the case, anytime a big social issue came up, we were told, 'Be quiet... It's a distraction.' And so, really, [we're] changing the conversation," Williams said.

The league said it would be financed through a combination of private funding and public offerings in 2019, meaning fans would be "true owners and legally-committed business partners."

While no official timetable has been given, most anticipate the league's first season to be 2020.

Freedom Football League
  Austin Revolution   Birmingham Kings
  Oakland Panthers   Connecticut Underground  
  Oklahoma City Power     Florida Strong
  Portland Progress   Ohio Players
  San Diego Warriors   St. Louis Independence

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Last update: October 10, 2019