Chop Block: Where Semi-Pro Went Wrong, Part Three
August 8, 2016 by Terrance Biggs
In Part Two, Tiara Doxey recounted her experiences with the league. Unfortunately, Wally Ball shared a few of those. Ball’s opinion of the league quickly degenerated over respect and money. There seems to be quite the discrepancy on what the league promised and what actually became real. The lure of a career seemingly enticed Ball to uproot his life and move from Ohio to Tennessee. The following answers are strictly Wally Ball’s viewpoints.
Q: What was in your job description?
Ball: In the very beginning, I became the media director for Memphis Blast. I was promoted to within two months of moving to Tennessee.
Q: When did you work there?
Ball: I was University of Akron graduate with an Emmy nomination of Film Production for sports. I wanted me to come to Tennessee and work with his league. The GDFL was multi-state and I could deal with people on a bigger scale than what was in the Akron surrounding area. After months plotting and planning and talking with Charles Thompson on a regular basis, I packed up. On January 14th 2014 I left for Memphis, Tennessee.
Q: How did you get connected with the GDFL?
Ball: About four months after arriving in Tennessee, and being promised the $40,000 a year to start off the workload got really big. I was working from my personal computer at home, living with a friend and keeping quiet doing what I was doing. To that point was a $55 prepaid phone card and $10 for the gas was what I received.
Q: At what point did you see things turn for the worse?
Ball: At one point, I was told I was in charge however when I started doing things. Everything had to meet his approval. Random phone calls, shifting assignments with little notice, jumping around and adding more. Thompson started complaining because nothing was getting done and I was spending 18 to 20 hours in front of a computer, or on the phone.
Q: Did you ever have to deal with the CEO over wages?
Ball: Yes, I had to deal with Charles on a regular basis about money. I was always told “I am working on a plan, just bear with me” Eventually after hearing that daily sometimes hourly I got to the point of telling him explain that to my landlord, my truck insurance or explain that to my phone bill. I took another job to cover my expenses.
Q: Did anyone confront him? If so, what happened?
Ball: When people would confront Charles from other teams or from his staff, everything was referred to the race card. I was the only White person on the staff. I was one of three that was dealing with the Memphis Blast and I was told always told that “because I’m from Ohio to Southern black boys would take care of my body.”
When teams would confront to Charles through phone calls, he would get so upset with them that before the season even started he went from 42 to 37 teams, by kicking them out of the GDFL. By the end of the 2014 season, there were approximately 30 teams remaining.
Q: How did the last conversation transpire?
Ball: The last time I saw him he met me at a gas station and told me I was making a mistake and I would never be as successful as he is and then it ended with as he walked off to his truck.
Q: Did you believe each team charged the same?
Ball: If he likes you, he cut you a deal or if he wanted you bad enough and sold his game at a very decent way he would charge as low as 800. But for the most part there was $1,500, and half the teams I would say half the teams didn’t even pay that.
Q: How much did you make?
Ball: The total amount of money in the seven months I was involved with him that I had received from him was $55 for a phone card, $100 spending cash, a trip to Alabama, $54 for a tank of gas and $40 to try and save my computer from a rental place.
Q: In your opinion, were any funds diverted from the league to the Memphis Blast?
Ball: That’s kind of hard to explain: there were times where he would tell me that he had to go pick up money or had to get money from Western Union Money Gram. A couple of hours later, he would have lots of money. I don’t know, in all honesty if that was his money or if it was Blast money, but the conversations became” let’s go out for lunch I’ll buy you a beer and a burger because such-and-such team just paid your league fees.”
Q: Was there a member of the executive team that you respected?
Ball: Director of Operations, Tracey Hardney-Scott was extremely fair. She let you have it if you screwed up. The way she handled situations was night and day from him.
Follow-Up: Yesterday, former GDFL Travel Coordinator Tiara Doxey opined about the state of the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters hotel room situations. One Bounty Hunter stepped forward to explain his side. Jobe Barker Jr. wanted time to express his thoughts. For the record, Barker said the women in the room were of legal age. Here is what he said:
Q: Were the rooms trashed?
Barker: I don’t think so. We didn’t take out trash or make up the bed. That’s their job. And we rolled up in there.
The next statement is not an answer, Barker requested a direct quote.
Barker: Charles Thompson said “Man they wouldn’t have charged you if we didn’t throw away the cigar guts.”
Q: Can you explain the fine?
Barker: I took the rep because I had the money to pay the fine. I’m not letting the homies go down. My cigar guts. My liquor.
Basically, each side is resolute in their opinions. While Doxey stands firm in her claims, Barker and the Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters franchise vigorously deny her stance of underage, half-naked women being found in the hotel rooms.