MLB digital platforms remove player names and images amid lockout

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By , Audacy Sports

Major League Baseball's official websites and social channels had a decidedly different look and feel amid the onset of a lockout on Thursday.

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Following the official start of the league's first work stoppage in 26 years, MLB-affiliated digital platform changed up their usual content and even scrubbed player likenesses from their pages.

The jarring procedural move comes as the owners and players failed to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday night, essentially marking the beginning of the stoppage.

Without a CBA in place, the league and its media empire -- it also broadcasts on MLB Network -- are apparently trying to avoid using player names, images and likeness to whatever extent possible, citing "federal labor law," according to longtime baseball writer Mark Feinsand, now with MLB.com.

The league's homepage, which typically features editorial and promotional content, was a trending topic on social media early Thursday when the sudden editorial changes went into effect. The news stack was populated with conspicuously evergreen headlines.

Early on Thursday morning, in apparent response to the social media reaction, an article explaining the shift in content appeared on the homepage.

"Until a new agreement is reached, there will be limitations on the type of content we display," the two-paragraph article said. "As a result, you will see a lot more content that focuses on the game’s rich history."

The lockout had the unanimous approval of the league's owners in a vote taken on Wednesday, according to Audacy MLB insider Jon Heyman.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said the stoppage was necessary given the demands of the players union in CBA talks, while MLB Players Association chief Tony Clark said the move was reckless and provocative.

With the stoppage looming, the MLB Hot Stove saw a flurry of action in the days leading up to the lockout, with several top-flight free agents signing lucrative deals.

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