Monday, January 24, 2011

Why the NLL sucks

By Graeme Perrow

Wanna know what sucks about the NLL? Here's what sucks about the NLL. Bandits forward Sean Greenhalgh will miss the entire 2011 season because of something completely unrelated to lacrosse. According to Darris Kilgour in a Buffalo News article, "Greenhalgh has a new job. He has to put some time in before he can ask for time off."

This is nowhere near the first time a player has had to put his full-time job ahead of his NLL career. Toronto Rock goalie Bob Watson became a police officer this past year and was seriously considering retiring from the NLL because he wasn't sure he would be able to get enough time off to play. Luckily for Rock fans he was able to get the time off and changed his mind, but he still misses mid-week practices because of it. There are plenty of examples of players who have missed games and practices because of their job, and I'm sure there are other players who have missed entire seasons.

The worst part is that there's no blame here. You can't point to one person or one group and say "it's their fault", or make some change to the rules or collective bargaining agreement to fix it. You can't blame Greenhalgh for changing jobs; that decision is his alone, and is entirely based on what's best for him and his family. You can't blame his company for expecting their new employee to put in the required time before taking as much vacation as being a pro lacrosse player requires. Player salaries are not high enough for players to make a living from it alone, so they need outside jobs. But you can't blame the PLPA or the league for that because the league just doesn't make enough money for that to be a reality.

Perhaps this new deal with IMG will result in more exposure, leading to higher-paying TV deals and greater attendance and such, which will eventually lead to higher player salaries and eliminate the need for outside jobs. If that happens (and realistically, that's a big if), let's hope that it doesn't go hand-in-hand with higher ticket prices.

It would be nice to see NLL players able to be full-time pro lacrosse players but until then, we'll just have to live with the consequences of being a "fringe" sport.


  1. Unfortunately, day jobs taking priority is our reality. But that's also part of what makes NLL fans so passionate about their teams and players. These guys play for the love of the game, not the paycheck. Most people are amazed to find out how little these guys make. I wish they could get paid what they really deserve, but part of me also dreads that day and how impersonal it will become.

  2. Some guys like Brodie Merrill make over 100k a year because of sponsorships.

  3. There's also Ryan Cousins of the Swarm, former two-time defensive player of the year whose 2010 season was cut short, and who has yet to suit up for Minnesota in 2011, because of his new job with (IIRC) the Toronto Fire Department. I wonder if the Rock, or even the Bandits or K'Hawks would be interested in a trade for him, so he could at least resume his NLL career in a city where travel isn't such a big issue.

  4. It may happen someday. Years ago, the other pro sports,leagues had their problems. The nll is growing, and things are only getting better. Img has a big part of that.

  5. The NLL needs more teams. I would like to see 14 in the league one day, 7 per division. That way it doesn't seem like the majority of teams are getting into the playoffs. Lol, 8 get in and 2 don't. :(

  6. People tend to forget how recently it was that the other major sports leagues actually took off in terms of attention as well as pay.

    The NFL was around for 50 years and guys were still working off-season jobs.

    NBA Finals? Still shown on tape delay in the 70s.

    MLB? Here's an interesting look at baseball's 'pay scale' in terms of 1sts:

  7. the NLL suck. its not even lacrosse. its disgusting all you do is brawl and just want to look like wanna be hockey players. Just play in the damn MLL retards.