The organizers of the Diontae Johnson Youth Football Camp sued the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver over his failure to show up for the one-day event.
FlexWork Sports Management LLC contracted with Johnson to lend his name and make an appearance at the May 22 camp in Pittsburgh, and they contend they are out thousands in refunds and camp-related fees, plus damage to its reputation, because he wasn't there.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Johnson's representatives told the organizers 13 minutes before the starting time of the camp that Johnson's flight to Pittsburgh from Florida on May 21 had been canceled due to weather and he would show up later on camp day. A second set of messages, according to the report, said Johnson left the airport because he didn't want to wait for another flight.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and seeks unspecified damages. The Steelers were not affiliated with the camp.
The families of campers paid $125 and were to receive a "team photo" with Johnson, a T-shirt and other items. Additional chances to interact with Johnson were offered for an extra fee.
According to the report, Johnson, 26, and the organizers had an agreement that he would pay a fee of $2,250 if he were to cancel after April 5 as well as all expenses incurred by FlexWork.
The organizers said they refunded just shy of $37,000 in registration fees, as well as an equal amount of credit toward a future camp. They also paid more than $10,000 in expenses for things that included staff payroll and photographer fees.
If Johnson is found liable for any of the camp costs, he should be able to afford it. Last week, he signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2024 season and is worth up to $39.5 million, with incentives, and includes $27 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported.
--Field Level Media