Statement From Barry Behrman and Shannon Berhman Paschall – Exclusive to AZB

My daughter Shannon and I want to begin by saying thank you to all of the U.S. Open supporters.  Thank you for all of your emails, texts, and calls in reference to the recent press release from the ABP in reference to boycotting the longest running and most prestigious tournament in the world, The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. Thank you to the blindsided pool players that notified us immediately after the press release, stating that they had no knowledge that their names were published on a list supporting this boycott, as this was not their intention.

In an economy like we have today, with the highest unemployment rate with over 14 million people without income, business after business going belly up, not to mention a record number of home foreclosures and the homeless; an economy so bad that economist are bordering fortunetelling and mere speculation verse precise calculations as to when our country should normalize, we still pay all of my players. There is not 1 single person that didn't get paid in 2010, or in the history of the U.S. Open.   When I wrestled in high school, there was a sign hanging on the wall with 9 words that I live by and will continue to live by, "A Winner Never Quits and a Quitter Never Wins" This is the cloth that I am cut from, I do not give up, and I will not allow others to bash me in the media as I am simply doing my very best.  Have I considered quitting? Yes.  In the early years I briefly thought about giving up the U.S. Open, as I lost a tremendous amount of money. I then thought of the fans, players and future players, and knew that the show must go on.   In my career, I have seen all men's player organizations come and go, but the U.S. Open is still standing.

All of my life I have lived and breathed for the game of pool, I began with only 16 players in 1976 and have loved watching it grow from 16 to 256 players, Do you think that this event would still be around if the players were not actually getting paid?  We all know that this cannot be the case. This will be the 36th year that the U.S. Open is hosted by me, along with my daughter for the past 10 years. I have loved every minute and can recall each match, like it was yesterday, because pool is my passion.

Almost every business has been hit by the turn in the economy and I am not immune to this flux.  It costs me $15,000 just to rent the stadium seating, which is barely covered by the VIP seat sales; this is just one piece of the puzzle that is used to put on such a great tournament. I am not perfect and do not claim to be. I have made many mistakes in my career and life, but I am always trying to better myself and this sport that we supposedly all love. For 35 years now, I have built the U.S. Open with my own blood, sweat and tears, and have made sure that every single player has always received their winnings; some may have been delayed a few months, but paid none the less.

Shannon and I do not see how boycotting an event that is merely here for the players and fans of pool, as it is not a cash cow for us, is benefiting this sport or the fans who want to watch the players.  I am not a wealthy man; in fact I too like some of the players am trying to simply make ends.  However, I am doing everything in my power to strengthen the industry of pool. I cannot allow the U.S. Open to be threatened by individuals whom will not return a call or email.  In fact, I personally called Johnny Archer 15-20 times in the past couple of weeks, and sent many emails to discuss this year's event, and not once did he answer or return any of my attempts.  What kind of leader is this?  I was never given the chance to acknowledge their demands, which I along with my daughter believe is completely unfair and simply "dirty pool."  This is not a step in the right direction, Mr. Archer as the President, should be attempting to work with promoters instead of shutting them out, or else pool as we know it will no longer exist.  I have been informed that some members of the ABP were demanding to be seeded into other events, and many made threats to walk if they were not.  Promoters cannot give into bullies.

This sport is larger than just the all mighty dollar.  It is a rare time for all players, both professional and amateurs, from all around the world come to test their skills against one another and become victorious, it is a great week in which fans are able to witness the skills of our industry today. Yes, it is income and a job for some, but let us not forget about the fans from around the globe that rearrange their precious lives to witness the U.S. Open.  I think that many players have lost sight for their passion of this sport to have it replaced with monetary gain instead. My daughter and I by no means enjoy having to pay anyone late, and do everything in our power, even in detriment to our personal lives and business to make sure that everyone is always paid. In fact for the 2010 U.S. Open, 92 spots were paid in full, in cash, at the event.  

I hope to see all of the fans and players again at the 36th Annual U.S. Open and my daughter and I will work relentlessly as usual to insure the players and fans receive our very best.  We are working on television contracts and hope to have the U.S. Open broadcasted in Asia, Canada, Europe and the U.S.A., in order for the players to receive the financial recognition that they deserve.  If anyone would like to contact us, please email as we will respond.