The ownership and management of the Pittsburgh Power would like to share with our fans, ticket holders, the Power community, and to the city of Pittsburgh, the circumstances regarding the unfortunate situation we were forced to address to ensure the 25th AFL Season Opener was played last Friday night.
Escalating threats of an impending work stoppage were delivered by the AFLPU, culminating with a 2:30 PM press conference Friday at the Power's hotel. Player union leader Ivan Soto indicated that a labor strike was the only outcome that we should be expecting at the season opener unless the AFL adopted the union's proposed collective bargaining agreement. That scenario would have drastically impactedthe integrity of the league's operating economic model.
Upon consulting the Orlando police department on Friday morning, it became evident that any strike or work stoppage staged by the players on the Amway Center field would result in a public safety issue, the cancelation of the game, and the emptying of the arena.
Mr. Soto's comments and threats were only amplified his 2:30 PM press conference where he was joined by several members of the Power team. Although the decision to play the game with replacement players had been reached by the AFL, it was clear we had to release the entire team from their contracts, and only allow those players who were 100 percent committed to playing football to enter the arena that evening.
We addressed the team after the union's press conference and informed them that they were no longer members of the AFL or the Pittsburgh Power. In spite of that, nearly half of our starting roster played in the season opener in Orlando Friday night. Because they decided the union's direction was not in their personal and professional interests.
It was most gratifying to learn that many of our players share the Power's strong commitment to the team and to the city of Pittsburgh:to deliver one of the best entertainment experiences in all of professional sports to our fans.