A star receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers faces a lawsuit over his failure to show up to a youth football camp he was supposed to host.
According to a report Tuesday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Diontae Johnson worked with FlexWork Sports Management LLC to organize a youth football camp that was to take place on May 22 at Cupples Stadium in the city.
The camp cost $125 per person for the base package, which would have included a photo with the Pro Bowl receiver, the report said.
Parents also could pay more for higher-tier packages that would have allowed even more access to Johnson for their child, the Post-Gazette reported.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, FlexWork alleged Maxx Lepselter, an agent for Johnson, contacted camp organizers at 9:47 a.m on May 22, just 13 minutes before the camp was supposed to start, the report said. He informed them that Johnson’s flight was canceled the night before but he planned to be there later in the day.
The court filing said Lepselter subsequently told organizers Johnson left the airport because he did not feel like waiting for his second flight.
They also discussed the possibility of a free camp with Johnson at a later date where he would sign gloves to make up for his no-show at the May 22 camp, the filing said.
If FlexWork’s allegations are true, Johnson’s actions deserve criticism.
No one likes flight delays, and they can certainly be difficult to navigate. With that said, the NFL star had a commitment to respect, and if he just left the airport because he was inconvenienced, it was not an appropriate response.
FlexWork said Johnson had previously agreed to pay a $2,250 fee if he canceled after April 5. It also alleged he had agreed to repay all expenses the company had incurred at the time of his cancellation.
The management company said in its filing that it issued $36,099.33 in cash refunds to parents, in addition to the same amount in credits for future camps, in an attempt to “mitigate the damage caused by Johnson’s breach of contract.”
The company also said it paid more than $10,000 in fees for videographers, rental cars, flights, hotels, food and beverage and staff payroll, the Post-Gazette reported.
“As a result of Johnson’s breach, FlexWork has suffered and continues to suffer damages in an amount to be determined at trial, plus interest, costs, disbursements and attorneys’ fees,” the filing said.
Arguably worse than the monetary damage caused by Johnson’s no-show is the emotional damage inflicted on the children.
Imagine waking up, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to meet an NFL star, only to travel all the way to the site of the camp and find out he was not coming.
If Johnson truly failed to show up because he just did not want to wait a little while at the airport, he made a selfish decision that affected both FlexWork and the children he promised to interact with.
However, the wide receiver indicated there is more to the story.
“Always two sides to a story lol…,” Johnson tweeted on Wednesday, adding, “Ain gone let s*** shake my spirit.”
Always two sides to a story lol…
— Diontae Johnson (@Juiceup__3) August 10, 2022
The Western Journal reached out to Johnson for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The wide receiver signed a lucrative contract extension with the Steelers last week. According to ESPN, Johnson’s new deal is worth up to $39.5 million over three years.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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