New Balance Severs Ties With Paul Rabil For Wearing Adidas In PLL
New Balance's Warrior brand has "terminated its contract" with Premier Lacrosse League co-Founder Paul Rabil, saying that he "violated terms of their multimillion-dollar deal by wearing a uniform from Adidas -- the new league’s apparel sponsor -- during practice and games," according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The move "may reflect lingering acrimony between Rabil’s upstart PLL and its main competitor, Major League Lacrosse." New Balance Founder & Chair Jim Davis is an MLL franchise owner and "recently had controlling stakes in four of that league’s teams." PLL co-Founder & CEO Michael Rabil, Paul's brother, said that New Balance’s move to cancel the five-year contract "was personal, stemming from the decision to create the new league after negotiations to buy MLL didn’t pan out." The termination letter "highlights two instances in which the company said Rabil violated terms of the deal" signed in '17. On June 7, he "sported an Adidas practice jersey (and posted it on social media) and on June 9 he wore an Adidas jersey and socks during a PLL game." New Balance and Warrior are MLL sponsors, while Adidas serves as the PLL's official shoe and apparel supplier. Paul Rabil said that the PLL had previously "held talks with New Balance about becoming a league partner." Rabil "wears New Balance cleats and Warrior equipment during PLL games." There are "about 10 New Balance-sponsored athletes in the PLL" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 7/31).
BALANCING ACT: Rabil on Twitter this morning acknowledged the sponsorship has been terminated and wrote, "Over a number of years, I’ve proudly worked with Warrior and New Balance -- and they’ve been great partners. I’m disappointed in their decision, but remain resolute in the mission of the PLL to build a new future for players and our sport" (TWITTER.com, 7/31).