City of Fort Wayne says it made no commitments to football league

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The City of Fort Wayne responded Sunday after protesters from the National Gridiron Football League alleged that the city backed out of a promise to cover housing for players.

Protesters interrupted an otherwise quiet Saturday for shoppers at Glenbrook Square Mall, chanting “keep your word” in the food court. The protesters, who were largely prospective players for the National Gridiron League in town for a training camp bubble, were asking the city to own up to an alleged promise to cover hotel costs.

“Keep your word, and by that I mean a lot of these young men came down with the impression the city was going to support this project,” league organizer Joe McClendon said in an interview on Saturday. “There’s going to be almost 400 guys coming from throughout the country coming to this location and the city, they made a few promises that we need to work out the final details out on. Right now, it put those guys in a tough situation. They were put out on the street.”

“We were recruited to come here by the city of Fort Wayne,” said McClendon.

On Sunday, WANE 15 spoke to some players at their hotel. The players did not want to be identified but confirmed that they were told their hotel costs would be covered.

A spokesperson from the city on Sunday released the following statement, which says, in part, the city had not made any commitments:

The City Administration, some local organizations, and some local community leaders have had meetings with the National Gridiron League regarding the League’s interest in having Fort Wayne as its home for football games this year. Offers have been made to help the League get acquainted with the community and point them toward locations for games and housing. As it relates to the League’s housing needs, the City of Fort Wayne hasn’t made any commitments and there are no agreements regarding this issue. The City has asked for a number of items from the League about its ability financially to conduct its operations here. At this time, we haven’t seen any of the requested information.

John Perlich, City of Fort Wayne spokesperson

McClendon said he has a meeting with the city on Monday to work it out. City spokesman John Perlich said he was not aware of any Monday meeting, though.

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