Live Blog from Allstate Arena: Chicago Rush VS Tampa Bay Storm 3-10-12. AFL Season Opener

Live Blog from Allstate Arena: Chicago Rush VS Tampa Bay Storm 3-10-12. AFL Season Opener

Pregame Report:

Of course the big story to start the 2012 Arena Football League season is the labor dispute between the AFL brass and it's players. Last night the AFL's Pittsburgh Power essentially cut all of it's unionized players just hours before kickoff and signed a group of replacement players at the last minute. The AFL Players Union is reportedly on strike but all players {aside from Pittsburgh} appear to be playing through it. Both the Rush and the Storm have all unionized players in uniform tonight. So I asked about the AFL's labor situation and these were the responses I received:

Rush Head Coach Bob McMillen: "Our players are here to play football tonight and that's all that matters. Beyond that I can't comment on the situation."

Rush Wide Receiver Reggie Gray: "Our brothers in Pittsburgh and Orlando are doing what they need to do and I support them. As for me, I'm just here to support the fans and play football."

I also spoke to an AFL league official who asked not to be indentified because of the league's policy on such matter. This official said to me: "They did go on strike but then they retracted, hopefully there will be an agreement soon."

The labor dispute is about players who are seeking a pay raise. Currently players make between $300 and $400 per game with a $50 bonus for winning games. The players are looking to receive a pay increase between $800 and $1000 per game.

The Rush have a lot of new faces on this years roster but Reggie Gray and Coach McMillen both said that everyone gelled together during training camp. As for Tampa Bay, no one was willing to speak with me before the game but they are sporting new uniforms for the 2012 season. Players are healthy on both sides of the ball, including Rush Quarterback Russ Michna. So the Rush are ready to start the 2012 season.

Follow me during the game on Twitter: @GabeSalgado82 Hastag: #TheLockerRoom

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