Arena Football League Fires Players Just Before Kickoff, Predators Forced to use Replacement Players
Just hours before the scheduled start of the 25th AFL season, players for the Pittsburgh Power and Orlando Predators were released. The players were released due to the ongoing strike between the AFL players and owners. Both teams had replacement players ready to go in the event the strike went down, which it did.
Currently the players make $400 a week with an added $50 if they win, the players are seeking $1,000 per game, but will settle at $850.
Pittsburgh Power kicker, Taylor Rowan, confirmed the news via Facebook:
“PITTSBURGH POWER OWNER JUST CAME IN AND FIRED EVERY PLAYER DURING PREGAME MEAL! THEY THOUGHT WE WERE GONNA STRIKE! AFL players union… you know what to do! Good luck AFL! Fans I hope you have our back!”
The league has had little to say regarding the strike:
The Arena Football League is choosing not to discuss labor matters publicly at this time in the hopes that we can come to an accord with the union. We will continue delivering the same exciting brand of football action that we have for the last 24 seasons and we hope that the union allows the players to do the same.
After attending the game Friday night, it’s clear to me that they need to get the regular starters back out there. The game was tied at zero after the first quarter, which I believe I heard had never been done prior.
Prior to the game I was on Twitter and the editor at Deadspin, Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog), was tweeting some interesting notes on the game:
- 8:44pm: Tonight’s Arena Football game has extra rules due to the replacement players having never practiced with each other. Crazy
- 8:45pm: The broadcasters do not even have rosters to call the game.
- 8:54pm: This Arena Football game is basically a “Central Florida high school stars who flunked out of college” all-star game.
- 10:24pm: AFL coaches were given the task of recruiting players LAST NIGHT. Apparently called area HS coaches for recommendations.
To back up that second point, at one point a player on the defense made a tackle and the PA announcer announced the play by saying: Nice tackle right there by five-six, a player wearing number 56. It was evident there were replacement players in, I don’t recall one field goal being attempted, so the two teams probably didn’t want to add a kicker or couldn’t find a kicker. It was probably one of those things where the coaching staff gathered the team and asked who can kick the farthest, to determine who would kick the kickoffs.
Last week Predators owner Brett Bouchy came out and said he would donate $25,000 to the Dwight Howard foundation if Howard resigns with the Orlando Magic. It sounds like Bouchy should take that money and pay his players some more.
I’d like to make one suggestion to the Predators organization: fire the PA announcer. That guy made the game hard to watch, with his over-the-top comments and sayings. I might be in the minority with that suggestion, but it made the game un-watchable, for me at least.
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