Power Play At The Olive Garden

In a scene worthy of “The Untouchables,” the entire Pittsburgh Power Arena Football League team attended a pregame dinner, then was promptly fired.

The Arena Football League Players Association declared a strike March 9. The players union is demanding higher pay for all players.

However, rather than give in to demandds, owners in Pittsburgh and Orlando decided to just fire the players and bring in replacements. And they did so before the teams were about to play each other.

The Olive Garden Massacre took place just hours before the season opener at Amway Center in Orlando the same Friday night the strike was announced.

“I’m putting food in my mouth and being read, from a piece of paper by our owner, that the Pittsburgh Power as a whole is now terminated,” former Power center Beau Elliott told 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.”

Meanwhile, Predators owners fired all 24 of their players, but re-signed some. Same with the Power: Owner Matt Shaner told the paper some members expressed interest in leaving the AFLPA and signed contracts under old terms. The NFL Network, which broadcast the game, reported the teams agreed to play only five original players for the season opener.

Power players who did not re-sign had to find their own way back to Pittsburgh.

“The players were released,” Shaner told the Tribune-Review. “Neither team nor the Arena Football League have any travel obligations to them.”

It was the league that reportedly decided to go ahead with the game, which was contracted to air on NFL Network.

Currently, most players make $400 a game, according to the Des Moines Register.

“The players need to make more than $400 per game before taxes. We’ve tried to be fair,” AFLPA Executive Director Ivan Soto told the Register. “The players even gave up healthcare in their recent contract.”