A labor stoppage has brought Major League Ultimate’s inaugural season to a halt. Players are demanding salary adjustment across the board and say they will not take the field until the league agrees to their demands.
“It is both irresponsible and unsustainable for the league to continue to pay us this much,” said Moses Rifkin, captain of the Seattle Rainmakers and spokesman for the newly formed MLU Players Association. “In this economic climate, and with the level of income that the league is currently receiving, what they’re paying us per game is exorbitant and wasteful.”
MLU is reluctant to meet the players’ demands. League officials have cited a need to pay the players some semi-respectable amount of money in order to save face.
“While we understand the concerns the players have raised, MLU will not accept any reduction in player salary without careful deliberation” said MLU Vice President Nic Darling. “Our executive committee approved a salary that is fair and—most importantly—is the absolute minimum we believe we can get away with if we want to call ourselves a ‘professional’ sport.”
“This is not an arbitrary decision; it was based on careful market research…that also cost a lot of money,” insisted Darling.
But players maintain that if they continue to receive pay at current levels, the league’s future will be in jeopardy.
“How is the league supposed to survive to a second year if it keeps wasting all its money on paying player salaries?” asked Rifkin.
“Just look at the AUDL last year,” Rifkin insisted. “How many players actually got paid? Basically none. And the league still had to relocate or terminate most of its franchises. We want MLU to succeed long-term, and we, as players refuse to take the field unless steps are taken to guarantee that stability. The first step is cutting player salaries to something more manageable.”
For legal reasons, Rifkin could not directly answer questions about specific dollar amounts. He directed reporters to the internet.
MLU Commissioner Jeff Snader commented on the controversy in a prepared statement.
“Major League Ultimate takes the strike very seriously, and we will do everything in our power to resolve the issue as soon as possible and to once again provide spectacular entertainment to our legions of loyal fans,” read Snader.
“It is our hope that negotiations will progress quickly, as the two sides are already fairly close in a per-game dollar amount. Honestly, we couldn’t really be all that far apart to begin with.”
It remains unclear whether the Flygirls are siding with the Players or the League.