Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is facing a lawsuit filed by FlexWork Sports Management LLC, a Connecticut-based company, due to his absence from a training camp event held by the company. The event, FlexWork Sports Youth Camp presented by Diontae Johnson, was held at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh on May 22.
Johnson was supposed to meet and have a drill with the football camp attendees. The event also should have included a Steelers team photo and press conference with Johnson. The tickets were sold starting from $125.
Diontae Johnson being sued for no-showing his football camp. https://t.co/5hYAPSTBlK
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) August 10, 2022
The parents of the camp’s attendees said that they were not happy with Johnson’s absence because they were looking forward to it. Jessica Ritchie, one of the parents, told Steelernation.com that she was disappointed with the situation.
“Just unclassy to me,” she said.
Johnson’s absence reportedly cost the company $36,000 in refund money and over $10,000 in operational expenses. FlexWork claimed that it also suffered reputational damage due to the incident. The operational expenses included hotels, car rental, airline, and staff payroll fees.
It was noted in the contract between Johnson and FlexWork that the Steelers wide receiver agreed to pay the company $2,250 for cancellation after April 5. FlexWork filed a lawsuit based on the 26-year-old player’s non-compliance with the agreement. The contract was signed by Johnson and FlexWork in November 2021.
Prior to the incident, FlexWork had managed to hold training camps with other NFL players, including Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb and former Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs.
Johnson has yet to issue a clarification, but FlexWork said Johnson’s flight from Florida was canceled. He left the airport because he did not want to wait for the rescheduled flight.
Other issues surrounding Johnson
In the first week of the Steelers’ training camp, Johnson also did not attend the full squad training. Johnson attended the second week, participating in individual drills but did not show up for team drills.
Although he has not been practicing with the team, Johnson reportedly attended team meetings. He also stayed after practice to do extra work.
Johnson was named to Pro Bowl for the first time in his career last season. He earlier secured a new contract with a two-year extension worth $36.71 million per year.
Johnson said he was happy and eager to play under his current contract.
“I’m not worried about what everyone else is making. The market is up there, but God has something for me at the end of the day. This is the right deal for me. I prayed about it. I’m good,” Johnson said as quoted by Steelernation.com.
“It was the offer they gave me and stuck with. I was able to get a little more, but I’m cool with it. I’m happy and ready to play,” Johnson said.
On the field, Johnson caught 59 passes with 680 yards received and five touchdowns in 2019. he improved his stats to catch 88 passes with 923 yards received and seven touchdowns in 2020. Last season, he recorded his career-best stats, catching 107 passes for 1,161 yards received and eight touchdowns.
Johnson is expected to play in NFL preseason games against Seattle Seahawks this weekend.