The National Lacrosse League has officially cancelled the first two weeks of its much-anticipated 2019 season after negotiations surrounding the player’s collective bargaining agreements failed.
The season was supposed to open on December 1st, but with negotiations ongoing for the past month, players never reported for training camps. Negotiations began in March but meetings were few and far between as the NLL showed no sense of urgency in getting a deal done until October with the season looming.
Tweets from various players have accused the NLL of not negotiating in good faith; instead, it appears that they keep offering the same deal that was on the table in the first place. Both parties want a long-term deal, but on the right terms. The NLL offered a seven-year deal that the players turned down due to a myriad of issues outlined in a PLPA press release. The PLPA countered that offer by accepting the NLL’s terms on a one-year condition that would see the season begin while the parties kept negotiating a longer-term deal. The NLL turned that down.
Full details of the CBA proposals aren’t publicly known, but the league is playing hardball with a very unified, dedicated union. It doesn’t appear as if the two sides are anywhere close to a solution.
It was supposed to be the beginning of a new NLL; the first with two expansion teams brought in by commissioner Nick Sakiewicz. They wanted growth. They wanted to hit the mainstream. Instead, the league is now mired in a public relations nightmare as outrage on social media puts fans squarely on the side of the players they have grown to know and love.
The NLL was also expected to announce the addition of a New York-based franchise this week, but that announcement was postponed amid the CBA negotiations.
We’ll keep you updated with any developments.
Statement from the NLL:
The League suspended its 5:00pm deadline yesterday to allow the PLPA to provide a new counterproposal. After a thorough review of the PLPA’s counterproposal, it is clear we cannot accept the terms the PLPA has put forward, and therefore, have made a decision to reject it. We believe those terms would have both short and long term negative consequences on our member clubs and the League which we are not willing to accept. Therefore, there is not yet an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
With respect to the upcoming season, the PLPA has instructed its players not to attend training camps or submit to physicals, making the formation of rosters and operation of the opening of the season impossible.
Therefore, and regrettably, because of the PLPA’s current position, the first two weekends of the 2018-19 season, which includes games on December 1 and December 8, 2018, are cancelled.
We will provide further communications on the 2018-19 schedule as updates become available.