Steelers' Diontae Johnson's Agent Says Youth Camp Lawsuit Allegations Are 'False'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2022

CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 28: Diontae Johnson #18 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field after a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Representatives for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson disputed the claims laid out in a lawsuit tied to his alleged failure to appear at a youth football camp.

Johnson's agent, Brad Cicala, and his attorney, Adam Kenner, called the claims "completely false" in a statement Tuesday.

"What FlexWorks conveniently leaves out of this story are the countless breaches of the arrangement with Mr. Johnson, including the failure to facilitate his timely arrival," they said.

"Although the previously agreed upon requirement to handle Mr. Johnson's travel was unfulfilled by FlewWorks, Mr. Johnson made his own attempts to make it to the camp. Unfortunately, those attempts were unsuccessful due to flight delays and cancellations."

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

Statement from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> WR Diontae Johnson’s agent and attorney in response to a recent lawsuit filed against him alleging he failed to appear at a youth football camp. <a href="https://t.co/0kp4oM3il0">pic.twitter.com/0kp4oM3il0</a>

According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, FlexWork Sports Management LLC filed suit, alleging it incurred "significant damages, in the form of refunds, credits, and reputational damage" because Johnson didn't show up at a camp scheduled for May 22.

FlexWork said Maxx Lepselter, one of Johnson's agents, sent a message 13 minutes before the camp was supposed to begin to say the 2021 Pro Bowler was experiencing travel issues.

"The report then describes an exchange between Johnson’s agent and a camp organizer where it was established the wideout did not want to wait around for his second flight and left the airport," per Mackey. "They then floated ideas about Johnson doing a free camp and signing gloves to make up for the no-show."

FlexWork is contending Johnson was required to pay a $2,250 cancellation fee in addition to camp-related expenses because he missed the April 5 deadline to withdraw from the event. The company said in the suit it paid out more than $36,000 in refunds.

The Steelers selected Johnson in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft. He's coming off a career year in which he was the team's leading receiver, finishing with 107 receptions, 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns.

Pittsburgh rewarded Johnson with a two-year extension worth as much as $39.5 million.