A new lawsuit filed in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court highlights the contentious split between Carl English and St. John’s Edge ahead of the team’s final season in 2020.
English sued the team’s former owners, Irwin Simon and Rob Sabbagh, alleging he was not paid $130,769 under the terms of his two-year contract covering the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Newfoundland-born basketball star was named league MVP in his first season and led the team to the final in his second season. Despite this, he says he received a fraction of his contract.
English declined to comment when contacted Monday. CBC News requested comment from Simon and Sabbagh Monday morning, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
The Placentia Bay product did not return for the team’s third year, telling CBC News at the time that “contractual obligations have not been met since last season.”
In court filings, English claims his contract called for an upfront payment of $30,000, as well as monthly payments of $5,000 and 50 percent of the revenue from “Carl English Appreciation Night.” He says he received the initial payment and revenue share, but never received his monthly salary or the HST associated with it.
He also wants interest added to the money he claims he is owed.
Simon and Sabbagh have not yet filed a defense in court.
Conflicting chapter to close his career
English’s career has taken him from the small town of Patrick’s Cove on Placentia Bay, to NBA training camps and the heights of European basketball.
His return home was a big deal. The Edge set league attendance records, with crowds full of people wearing the England number 23 on their backs. English also used his influence to bring in former NBA champion Glen “Big Baby” Davis for the 2019 season.
Attendance dropped more than 20 percent during the team’s third season, according to NBL Canada statistics. The team opted for a bottom-up approach after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Newfoundland Growlers owner Dean MacDonald wanted to reclaim the franchise from Simon and Sabbagh and continue playing at Mary Brown’s Center in St. John’s. The city, however, granted a rental contract to the Newfoundland Rogues franchise.
MacDonald started a Growlers basketball team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League and played at Memorial University Field House for one season. The team folded when the league decided it was not a good enough venue for a professional team.