TAMPA — More problems have hit the Lingerie Bowl, but organizers say the game will go on.
Some players have quit the team over a pay dispute and because they object to holding the game at a Pasco County nudist resort, said Lingerie Bowl quarterback Reby Sky of Temple Terrace, who also represents some Tampa Breeze players as an agent.
"I don't have anything against the lifestyle," Sky said, referring to the nudist resort Caliente. "But we as players were having a hard enough time dealing with and defending against the negative stigmas and stereotypes associated with the sport and playing attire before it was announced that we would be playing at a nudist resort."
But Horizon Productions, a Los Angeles company that runs the Lingerie Football League and its games, criticized the players who left the team, saying they were dismissed "because of their overall lack of preparation and attitude."
"We literally have a roster of thousands of models in the Tampa area and around the country that want desperately to be part of the LFL and Tampa Breeze," Horizon Productions spokesman Stephon McMillen said in a prepared statement. "These players are simply bitter about being released and were replaced immediately."
The Jan. 31 Lingerie Bowl VI, which is to air on pay-per-view during the Super Bowl halftime, was originally to be held on a vacant lot in West Tampa, but neighbors objected. Tampa City Council members also disapproved, saying organizers hadn't obtained proper insurance and permits.
Rumors swirled that the Lingerie Bowl might not happen, but Horizon Productions found a new home for the game at the Caliente clothing-optional resort in Pasco County.
Some players apparently bristled at that idea.
Ricker Yankowski, who represents six players through his St. Petersburg agency Models Without Attitude, said that Horizon Productions failed to pay the players Dec. 3 as promised and that the company now says it will pay $1,000 to each player on game day — about 70 percent less than the players thought they would get. He said at least three of his players have quit, and more may resign.
"I never thought it would come down to this," Yankowski said. "Taking these girls away from home and family and work, then paying them a lot less, then making them play at a nudist resort, is below moral."
Sky, 22, of Temple Terrace, a model whose real name is Rebecca Reyes, said players' "contracts were voided and the schedules and stipulations were all rearranged."
"Had things remained as they were promised, this would all be a different story," she said. "I don't want this to come back and hurt my career in the future."
That's fine, McMillen said.
"The game will go on," he said, "only with more talented and team-oriented players."