Major League Lacrosse, North America’s top pro outdoor lacrosse league, is always looking for ways to drum publicity for its sport and players. Unfortunately, this probably isn’t what they had in mind.
On August 24, a “data incident” occurred in which an online spreadsheet that included player names, social security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses has been accidentally exposed. Apparently, a link on the player pool registration page had mistakenly sent browsers directly to the spreadsheet, which means anyone who clicked on it would have seen the sensitive info.
The league sent an email to all players in their pool, active and inactive, explaining what happened and information them to establish fraud alerts, check their financial accounts and notify the Federal Trade Commission if fraud has occurred. The league also offered prepaid credit monitoring free to anyone who wanted it.
The data breach is reminiscent of the recent WWE subscriber data breach, which also involved a spreadsheet with personal info left that could be accessed publicly.
MLL Players’ Council member and New York Lizard player Ryan Flanagan released a statement to Inside Lacrosse regarding the leak.
“This is unacceptable and inexcusable. The spreadsheet that was shared publicly with player information has been shared privately on more than one occasion. Players have previously requested that the file not be shared with anyone and that any files with player information be encrypted and password protected. This request was clearly ignored. On top of that, the issue of player information being shared publicly was brought to the attention of the league on Aug. 23. The league did not send a note to those impacted until Aug. 28. The individuals that were aware of the information breach went home for the weekend without making the players aware that their personal information was shared publicly. This is unacceptable.”
“We greatly appreciate Commissioner [David] Gross offering prepaid credit monitoring to those impacted. However, the players of Major League Lacrosse have continued to create an outstanding on-field product for fans and deserve better treatment off-the-field in a variety of areas, including the protection of our personal information.”
Other players voiced their frustrations over Twitter as well:
You couldnt sell a comedy script written based on the blunders of @MLL_Lacrosse this season. A Movie company would say its too unbelievable.
— Jerry Ragonese (@FlowGo37) August 28, 2017
LOVE getting a notice from @MLL_Lacrosse that they put players personal information out on the web for all to see. Totally unacceptable.
— Jack Reid (@GorillaMagilla) August 28, 2017
Got the same email. Wasn't just email addresses and birth dates, lots of personal info not a great day for former players of @MLL_Lacrosse https://t.co/cBkaeuvyZq
— Liam Banks (@LB3Liam) August 28, 2017
While most people will only hear about this incident, it’s apparently just the latest in a series of gaffes that have players frustrated with the league. MLL just completed its 17th season and is currently looking for a successor to outgoing commissioner David Gross. The new boss certainly has their hands full in re-establishing goodwill with players and trying to convince fans that the league is serious about how it handles its business.