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Volume 24 No. 158

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Toronto FC "is home to three of the 12 players" in MLS "making million-dollar-plus salaries" this season, according to documents cited by Neil Davidson of the CP. Sounders F Clint Dempsey "is the league's highest-paid player" at $6.695M, but two TFC players "are next" with MF Michael Bradley at $6.5M and F Jermain Defoe at $6.18M. Galaxy players "ranked fourth and fifth" with F Landon Donovan listed at $4.583M and F Robbie Keane at $4.5M. The figures, released on Thursday by the MLS Players Union, "do not include performance bonuses," nor do they "show instances where players are provided accommodations." While player salaries "may be larger than listed by the union," the figures "offer a look at a league of haves and have not's" (CP, 4/10). ESPN FC noted Dempsey this season, with bonuses included, will make "more money than the total player payrolls of 15 of the 19 MLS clubs" (, 4/10). SOCCER AMERICA's Paul Kennedy noted seven of the 20 top-paid players in MLS are on the U.S. men's national team (, 4/10).

THE TURNING POINT: GRANTLAND's Graham Parker wrote under the header, "How MLS Commissioner Don Garber Took His League From Contraction To Expansion." Garber said, "The real turning point was 2007. 2007, we went from 12 teams to 13 teams. Toronto came in. It was our first addition of a new team with a global sports and entertainment entity that came in and said, ‘Hey, we really believe in MLS and we’re going to put our money behind the idea.’ And when Maple Leaf Sports said, ‘This is something we believe in,’ it sort of surprised the North American sports industry. Stan Kroenke came in and purchased Colorado Rapids, and he had a stadium planned ... And it really all came to fruition in ’07. [David] Beckham came on; we sold out Toronto, with 15,000 people on the waiting list; we started evolving the way we were thinking about player development. We started thinking, ‘Maybe we've got something here'" (, 4/8).

Nine former players have filed a lawsuit against the NHL claiming that the league "intentionally created, fostered and promoted a culture of extreme violence," according to Klein & Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The suit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, is the "latest in a growing string of challenges to the NHL." Similar to suits brought by retired NFLers, the complaint said that the NHL "failed to take adequate steps to warn the players of the dangers of the sport and deliberately promoted violence for profit." The complaint is "more graphic than other suits brought by former hockey players, highlighting the role of enforcers in the NHL." The plaintiffs in the suit are former NHLers Dan LaCouture, Dan Keczmer, Jack Carlson, Richard Brennan, Brad Maxwell, Michael Peluso, Tom Younghans, Allan Rourke and Scott Bailey. The case will be heard by Judge Shira Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan. Proving those allegations "could be as difficult as it has been for the retired NFL players" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/11). In N.Y., Pat Leonard noted this is the "second class action suit" against the NHL "in the past five months." The players allege "negligence on the league's part in not properly informing and protecting players from the risks of head trauma." Leonard: "Strangely, however, the lawsuit is rife with errors, including the erroneous assertion that NHL great Gordie Howe died in 2009 -- he's still alive -- and the misspelling of the greatest active player's name as 'Sydney Crosby' -- it's Sidney." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a statement said, "In short, we are completely satisfied with our record on Player Safety" (, 4/10). TSN's Eric Macramalla wrote, "Like concussion lawsuits generally, this one faces challenges." The way the lawsuit itself was drafted "is a bit unusual." It makes reference "to movies, including Gladiator, Youngblood and Friday the 13th." This is "atypical" (, 4/10).