VIRGINIA BEACH - Aaron Rouse loved playing football and being a part of the Virginia Destroyers, the 2011 champions of the United Football League.
He was looking forward to defending the title when, after just four games, the UFL suspended the 2012 season. The league cited a lack of money in making the announcement in October.
Rouse says he and other players haven't been paid the $3,500 a game they were expecting.
Rouse, who played college ball at Virginia Tech and was a safety on the Destroyers, is fed up.
“I’m out here doing this so I can support my family while doing something that I love. It’s supposed to be a win-win situation,” he says.
The worst part, Rouse adds, is that he gets calls every day from players who can’t support their families, who can’t find jobs and who've resorted to sleeping on friends' couches.
“To have these guys return home with nothing to compensate them or their families for it is just unthinkable,” says Rouse. “Guys just want to be paid for the work that they've done. For the time, work and sacrifice that they have already put in, for the games that they have already played."
UFL Executive Director of Communications Larry Weisman released a statement: "The United Football League continues to work diligently toward resolution of outstanding issues and a resumption of the 2012 season in the spring of 2013."
Rouse doesn't know if or when the money will come in and, even if the season resumes, he says he won't be a part of it.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity the UFL has given me, an opportunity to play in my hometown in front of my hometown supporters. But at the end of the day, this is something I wouldn’t want to go through or want my worst enemy to go through,” he states.
The UFL has been around for four years and this is the second year it has ended the season early.