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Paul Rabil’s New Balance Deal: Early Thoughts

News spread earlier today about PLL co-founder Paul Rabil’s New Balance endorsement deal being dropped by New Balance due to violating terms of his contract.

The news, first reported by Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg, said that, “New Balance Inc.’s Warrior brand terminated its contract with the 33-year-old Rabil, saying he violated terms of their multimillion-dollar deal by wearing a uniform from Adidas — the new league’s apparel sponsor — during practice and games.”

Before we start launching into conspiracy theories and tales of feuds between the two leagues, the following point by LAS’ Ryan Conwell should be taken into consideration:

In reality, if there was a termination clause in his contract for wearing apparel from other sponsors, then New Balance has every right to end their agreement with Paul.

paul rabil's new balance pll

Paraphrasing Rabil, “There’s never been an expectation in pro team sports” that an athlete would wear any jersey other than the one required by the team or league’s sponsorship deal, per Bloomberg.

“100 years of precedent say no,” he said, “and 100 years into the future will say no.”

While this specific may be true, it’s not like athletes and corporations are constantly trying to take advantage of each other to do what’s best for their business.

In fact, an article by Go Banking Rates breaks down 24 different athletes who lost their big endorsement deals for one reason or another. These names including Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, among others.

Yes, most of these athletes messed up in some way where Rabil has not. But, the point I am trying to make is that businesses do cancel their endorsements with athletes all the time if they are in breach of their contract.

Besides, players find ways to end their sponsorship deals with companies frequently. You just need to look back as far as this summer with the whole Zion Williamson lawsuit debacle that athletes are constantly looking for ways to help maximize their earnings and maintain good business relations. It’s the same for companies.

The fact of the matter is, sports are a cutthroat industry.

While it is unfortunate, people in sports — and business in general — are basically taking advantage of each other and not “playing nice” all of the time.

Does it make it right, morally? Not really. But, it is perfectly legal to do so, provided they act in accordance with the contract they agreed upon and the laws of the government.

So, do I think that New Balance — more specifically Warrior Lacrosse — cancelling Paul Rabil’s contract when they continue to sponsor athletes such as Tom Schreiber and Trevor Baptiste is fair to Paul?

No, I don’t.

But, it is certainly a 100 percent, normal thing to happen.

Bottom line? Let’s not all treat this as though this is the first time this has ever happened. It may be the first time for our sport on this large of a scale, but, really, if we want to be a major sport like the PLL is trying to make us, then we’re going to have to get used to playing like the big boys.