The Indoor Football League is quickly becoming my favorite professional sports league, though I use the term "professional" very, very loosely. Last week we told you how the Omaha Beef would miss the IFL playoffs because they're owned by the league, and the league decided the Beef's participation wouldn't be worth it financially. The Beef would have traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D., to take on the undefeated Storm over the weekend. The Storm played the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks instead. But it now turns out the Storm had some bizarre troubles of their own on Friday.
First, Sioux Falls wide receiver/quarterback Lorenzo Brown was arrested and charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of contributing to abuse, neglect or delinquency of a child. Brown works at a juvenile detention center, but it's not clear exactly what he's accused of doing. And that's not even the weird part.
Kurtiss Riggs, the Storm's head coach, was forced to miss Saturday's playoff opener because he had been suspended two games by the league for violating its player compensation rules. Riggs's offense? His team provided defensive back Korey Askew with transportation to a charity event in a 1985 Dodge van. The Storm cried foul, arguing that the transportation was provided by a third party and that the accusations were bogus, since the vehicle did not belong to the team.
But that's not even where things get interesting: Askew was only on the Storm's roster for the first two weeks of the season. He then signed with the Colorado Ice. The Ice made him sign an affidavit saying the Storm provided him with transportation. Shortly after he signed the affidavit, Askew was released by the Ice.
According to Scott Abdallah, the Storm's attorney, Askew was merely a pawn in the Ice's plan to bring down the mighty Sioux Falls Dynasty:
He testified that he was used by the Colorado Ice and that their sole purpose in bringing him in was to bring dirt out on the Storm. The decision simply isn't supported by the evidence, and the timing is very disturbing, coming the day before the playoffs begin. This appears to be a continuing pattern of certain teams trying to gain an advantage over a team off the field that they can't beat on it.
Storm owner Todd Tryon was a little less diplomatic. He accused the league of delaying its decision so as to impact the playoffs according to KELO. And he also said this, to the Argus Leader of Sioux Falls:
I guess the only way to compete with success is to pull them down to your level. It's stunning that (other IFL teams) would go to these lengths instead of taking the proper steps to improve their programs. It's apparent they'll do whatever it takes to bring us down.
There doesn't seem to any bringing down the Storm, though. They went on to beat the Steelhawks, 79-21, after leading 63-7 at halftime. The IFL, for its part, insists there is no conspiracy. But it's not like they're going to admit to it anyway.
Update/clarification, June 26: Abe Sauer Is A Dishonest Cretin: A Note From The Editors Of Deadspin