This article was written by Steve Reed, a sports writer for the Associated Press.
“Blake Martinez, after facing challenges with his Pokemon trading card business, has decided to pause operations and make a comeback to the NFL.”
The 29-year-old linebacker has recently been added to the practice squad of the Carolina Panthers. The team is optimistic that he can provide some much-needed stability to a position that has been greatly affected by injuries.
The Panthers (1-7) are set to face the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, but coach Frank Reich is uncertain if Martinez will have enough time to catch up after only participating in one practice.
Martinez has been absent from the football scene since November of last year when he suddenly declared his retirement from the Las Vegas Raiders in order to prioritize “family and future interests.”
One of my interests was collecting Pokemon cards.
In 2022, he founded “Blake’s Breaks,” a business that deals with the buying and selling of Pokemon cards. According to a report from CNBC, the company generated $8.3 million in revenue within a span of nine months. One of his scarce Pokemon cards was sold for $672,000.
However, in August, his business’s image suffered a significant blow as it was permanently banned from Whatnot, an internet platform where individuals can buy and sell goods to one another, due to allegations of defrauding customers.
“We are grateful for the community’s dedication to reporting trust and safety concerns,” Whatnot stated on Twitter. “Our main focus is on providing a just and transparent experience for our customers, while also upholding our community standards. Following a thorough inquiry into the operations of Blakesbreaks, we have made the decision to permanently ban the seller from our platform, as well as any employees found to be involved in misconduct.”
Martinez stood up for his business, stating that there is a multitude of misinformation and unfounded allegations circulating.
Despite this, he has temporarily halted production of Blake’s Breaks in order to address internal problems within the company.
“I have significantly increased the level of thoroughness in my actions, procedures, and team selection to prevent any potential mishaps,” stated Martinez.
Currently, his attention has returned to football.
A fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2016, Martinez had four straight productive seasons with at least 144 tackles from 2017-2020 before suffering a torn ACL in 2021 while playing for his second team, the New York Giants.
He only appeared in four games for the Raiders during the previous season before announcing his retirement.
After stepping away from the NFL, he stands by his choice and does not feel remorseful. He explains that the Raiders deserved his full dedication, which he was unable to provide at the time. However, after taking a break from the sport, he was excited when the Panthers offered him a chance to try out.
“Each and every contestant desires the opportunity to go out and compete,” stated Martinez on Tuesday. “I would happily accept any chance that comes my way. However, there is a specific process involved. I believe that if you were to ask anyone, ‘Would you like to play on Thursday Night Football?’ their response would undoubtedly be, ‘Hell, yeah!’ It doesn’t matter who it is.”
The AP NFL can be found at the following link: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL.