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In professional sports, a replacement player is an athlete who is not a member of the league's players association and plays during a labor dispute such as a strike or lockout.

Contents

Instances of replacement players

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National Football League – 1987

The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) went on strike in 1987, and the owners brought in replacement players to start the season. After three weeks, many of the players on strike returned, weakening the union's position.[1]

Major League Baseball – 1995

In 1994, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) went on strike. Spring training in 1995 started with replacement players. However, the dispute was settled before the start of the regular season.[2] Players who agreed to serve as replacement players were subsequently blacklisted by the MLBPA, although the majority of them had not been eligible to join the union at the time they crossed picket lines, since they had not played in the major leagues.

United States national soccer team – 2005

In 2005, the labor conflict between the United States Soccer Federation and its players led to U.S. national team players not reporting to camp in lieu of qualification for the 2006 World Cup. With almost every single Major League Soccer player, even those not in the U.S. player pool, refusing to participate, the camp was made up from players from the lower divisions of US Soccer, the United Soccer Leagues. The two sides came to an agreement before any matches were played.

Replacement officials

Though not technically players, professional officials have associations very similar to players associations.

National Hockey League – 1993

The National Hockey League Officials Association struck in 1993. The league decided to bring in replacement officials, however many officials from the minor leagues and high-level junior hockey stood with the union and refused to break the picket line. This led to the resolution of the strike after 17 days.[3]

Major League Baseball – 1999

In 1999, 22 Major League Baseball umpires resigned since their collective bargaining agreement did not allow them to strike. The 12 umpires who decided not to resign were joined by 25 replacements. The umpires' posturing was unsuccessful and led to a lengthy legal battle. In the end, some – but not all – of the umpires who resigned were rehired, and a new union, the World Umpires Association, was created to represent the umpires.[4][5][6]

National Football League

In the early 2000s, the NFL and its officials' union were unable to secure a deal, resulting in the officials going on strike partway through the season. Replacement officials from the NCAA and Arena Football League were brought in to officiate games. Much to the surprise of the league, many fans found the replacement officials to be better than the ones who were doing the officiating in the first place, but after four weeks, an agreement was reached and the original officials returned to the field.

References

  1. ^ Conrad, Mark (March 29, 2000). "NFL Players Seek Alliance With Game Officials". New York: Sportslaw News. http://www.sportslawnews.com/archive/Articles%202000/NFLPAgameofficials.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  2. ^ "Replacement Players". Major Leagues Baseball Almanac. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/legendary/replacement_players.shtml. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  3. ^ "About NHLOA". National Hockey League Officials Association. http://www.nhlofficials.com/about_nhloa.asp. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  4. ^ Lasky, Matthew J. (August 1999). Major League Umpires Blow Call. Fmew.com. http://www.fmew.com/archive/umpire/. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  5. ^ "Six more will split $2.3M in severance pay". MLB. Associated Press (New York: ESPN). 2004-12-24. http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1953109. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  6. ^ [1]

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