michael-garcia - March 20, 2012
Can I get these breadsticks to go?
The Arena Football League started its 25th season in the midst of some labor strife, so much so, that the owner of the Pittsburgh Power cut his entire roster during the team's pre-game meal - because the players union had just authorized a strike.
Owner Matt Shaner told his team of the move hours before kickoff, as they were eating an Orlando Olive Garden restaurant. The Power's opponent, the Orlando Predators, did the same thing to its roster. At the heart of the dispute was pay. The players wanted a 300 percent increase on their $400 a game pay; the owners countered with $500 a game.
As you can imagine, getting told 'you're fired' during unlimited breadsticks and salad didn't go over very well with the Pittsburgh players. Beau Elliott described the scene to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Mid-statement, all the players got up and left. Every player got up and left while he was still talking. There were 15 to 20 angry, large individuals.
The game ended up being played, as some players quit the union and resigned with their teams, while the owners filled out their rosters with replacement players. The strike ended the next day, but the Power players who didn't resign with the team were forced to find their own way back to Pittsburgh from Orlando. Heck of a way to start off the silver anniversary of the league.