The Pittsburgh Steelers under head coach Mike Tomlin are entering uncharted waters. This will be the team’s first season since 2003 without franchise stalwart and future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger under center.
To help soften the blow, the team recently signed star wide receiver Diontae Johnson to a new two-year, $36 million extension with $27 million guaranteed. But as Johnson is celebrating his newfound wealth and security, reports have surfaced that give his reputation with the community a bit of a black eye.
Johnson has been sued for skipping a youth football camp in May.
Johnson blamed his no-show on flight delays, which in all honesty could be true considering how things have been since the pandemic began in 2020. But that hasn’t stopped the camp’s organizers from trying to recoup money which they say was lost.
FlexWork Sports Management LLC says DJ’s no-show caused “significant damages, in the forms of refunds, credits, and reputational damage.”
“As a result of Johnson’s breach, FlexWork has suffered and continues to suffer damages in an amount to be determined at trial, plus interest, costs, disbursements, and attorneys’ fees.”
Diontae Johnson is reportedly being sued after he did not show up at a youth football camp that he had previously agreed to host https://t.co/PBvMRY1xlU
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 10, 2022
FlexWork is looking to show that they’re a reliable and reputable source for youth camps, and understandably they seem to feel Johnson’s no-show could have damaged that reputation.
The suit comes just days after Johnson became much richer. Johnson even took to Twitter to say this about the ordeal.
“Always two sides to a story lol.”
Not sure what’s funny about a bunch of kids expecting to see their NFL hero and being let down, but Johnson let us know the outcome will be decided in a court of law.
Pretty sad that this guy does not care about all the little kids that were looking forward to meeting him. You are one selfish individual @Juiceup__3 because you didnt want to wait for a second flight! https://t.co/PFITlCGWKd
— Ricky Bobby (@Ricky55890078) August 10, 2022
NFL Players And Youth Camps This Summer Have Been Shaky
Johnson’s breach of contract is the second controversial youth football camp situation of the summer. The other took place in Inman, South Carolina and involved Johnson’s draft classmate Deebo Samuel, who’s had quite a summer himself.
The San Francisco 49ers dual threat came under fire for denying a camper an autograph.
But it became apparent that all campers at the camp were told they’d get a picture and pre-signed memorabilia at the camp’s end, which Samuel definitely honored. That didn’t stop the savage internet trolls from running with the story as if Samuel just blew the kids off. As for Johnson, his camp never saw his face so it didn’t have that type of drama or fake drama.
Johnson Had A Career Year In 2021: Steelers Will Need Duplicate In 2022
After a 2020 season which saw Johnson lead the league in drops with (13), he rebounded and trimmed that down to five. He even received 25 more targets as he showed the sure hands to accompany that elite route-running which made him a third-round pick out of Toledo. Johnson has a pure skills et similar to another former Steelers wide receiver from the MAC in Antonio Brown. Johnson would’ve been a late first- to early second-round selection in the draft if he’d played at a Power Five school.
— Toledo Football (@ToledoFB) August 4, 2022
Last season, that first round ability was on full display as he tallied 107 receptions for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. He is undoubtedly the Steelers top option on the outside and in 2021 he looked like the player they thought were getting in 2019.
Now, the Steelers need DJ to take it to another level if head coach Mike Tomlin wants to extend his NFL-record of 15 straight seasons without a losing record. He also needs to show even more love to the kids of the community.