'It's devastating:' Georgia Doom players speak out on playoff controversy
MACON, Ga. -- The Georgia Doom had a party on Sunday to celebrate what should have been a playoff-clinching win over the Atlanta Havoc to conclude their first season in the American Arena League.
That celebration was very short-lived.
The players heard rumors the past week that a financial situation between team ownership and the league office might prohibit the Doom from accepting a bid to play in the AAL playoffs -- despite finishing with the second best record in the league.
Monday afternoon, the players were officially notified that they would, in fact, not be participating in the postseason after finishing with a 6-2 record.
"I was with a teammate," quarterback Luke Collis said. "I think we both were like, 'We could cry right now.' If this is true. It's devastating."
Collis came to play for the Doom after spending time on the practice squad for the Arena Football League-champion Philadelphia Soul. He came to Macon to win a championship -- and now that opportunity is being take away from him and the rest of his teammates.
"I don't have a championship ring," defensive back Rayshaun Kizer said. "I've been to quite a few championships, but never won the big game. So I was looking to come here and get that."
The Doom had been working all season with the goal of winning a championship. Now the players are left feeling helpless after having this opportunity taken away from them despite their performance on the field.
"Now it's like we can't control our own fate," defensive end Carl Green said. "It's just -- I don't know, it's bad. Went from a great season to just out of it. It's bad man."
The details of why exactly the Doom are forfeiting their playoff spot still remain unclear. The players have been led to believe that the AAL levied a playoff tax that the Doom was unable to pay, while the league has implicated that the Doom's ownership is responsible for the decision to withdraw from the playoffs.
"I just really wanted an explanation," Green said. "That's all. That's the only thing I wanted is just honesty, but we haven't gotten that either."
Some of the players discussed the possibility of collectively seeking legal aid with the hopes of being reinstated into the AAL playoffs or potentially being reimbursed for their playoff bonuses.
"I don't know if we're optimistic, but we're passionate," Collis said. "And we hope that our fans are passionate too and will push the AAL to allow us back in the playoff."
WGXA has reached out to the AAL and the owner of the Doom Kevin Adkins, but has not received any information from either party regarding this matter.