I haven't followed the AFL for long, but I can't imagine there's been a more bizarre day in the league's 25 years than Friday. The labor unrest boiled over into a player strike, according to AFL players union executive director Ivan Soto, just a couple hours before the Orlando-Pittsburgh season opener on NFL Network.
Pittsburgh's owner immediately fired his roster and Orlando's owner released his players. Roughly half of Pittsburgh's roster decided to play, signing new contracts. The teams reportedly had a player draft prior to the game of the replacement players. The game wasn't pretty. Pittsburgh wore white uniforms and Orlando's appeared to be off white. Many players didn't have names on the back of their jerseys. It was scoreless after one quarter before the Power went on to a 40-26 win.
In Spokane, owner Brady Nelson and coach Andy Olson are still trying to assess what it means for the Shock roster. Nelson isn't sure how many of his players or how many players league-wide are AFLPU members, but he seems certain that his current roster will be on the field for Monday's opener against Iowa. Nelson hopes that's the case, but he also said putting together a replacement roster would be possible, especially with the team just releasing 50 or so players from training camp.
Here's my article from today's events that will run in Saturday's S-R. More in the Orlando Sentinel, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (also here), Arizona Republic, Salt Lake Tribune, San Antonio Express-News, Des Moines Register, Tampa Bay Times and Arenafan.com.