MLL Investigating 'Data Incident' That Exposed Players' Personal Information


Major League Lacrosse notified players Monday it had mistakenly posted a public link on its website that directed browsers to a spreadsheet containing their personal information, including social security numbers and addresses.

Major League Lacrosse is investigating a “data incident” that exposed the personal information — including social security numbers, email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses — of every individual in the MLL player pool.

MLL emailed players Monday to notify them that the league had discovered and disabled a link on the player pool registration page that mistakenly directed browsers to a spreadsheet that contained their sensitive information. The incident occurred last Wednesday. The league deactivated the link Thursday, according to the email.

MLL encouraged the affected individuals to establish fraud alerts with the three credit reporting bureaus and consider placing a credit freeze on accounts, while also providing information on how to respond if their identity is stolen. The league is setting up two-year credit monitoring for each player exposed by the breach.

“We take the privacy and protection of your information very seriously, and accordingly recommend that you closely review the information provided in this email for steps that you may take to protect yourself against the potential misuse of your information,” MLL advised the players via email. “On Thursday, August 24, 2017, we became aware that a link on our player pool registration inadvertently linked to an Excel spreadsheet which contained your full name, address, telephone number, email address, social security number, citizenship, date of birth, height, weight, position, college, graduation year, team, and non-MLL occupation. Upon discovery, we immediately disabled this link and began an investigation into the matter.

“Although the investigation has just begun and is very much ongoing, given the sensitive nature of the information, we wanted to notify you of the incident now. We will be sending you a formal notice once further information is learned, including access to prepaid credit monitoring.”

In what has become a troubling trend for the league, players (past and present) vented their frustrations on social media.

In a statement to Inside Lacrosse, New York Lizards defenseman Ryan Flanagan, a member of the MLL Players Council, called the incident “unacceptable and inexcusable,” saying the players had previously expressed concern about the document in question when it circulated privately and requested that it be encrypted.

“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,” Flanagan said.

Boston Cannons midfielder Josh Hawkins, a studio analyst for Lax Sports Network, addressed the incident Monday night on “Lacrosse Now,” calling for calm among his fellow players.

“I’ve been advised not to talk about this, but that’s part of the issue and the problem with our league,” Hawkins said. “Mistakes happen. They’re going to continue to happen. As players and people that represent the league, we have to continue to support the league office and people of the league to get better. It makes us look worse, it makes our sport looks worse and it makes us look like complainers. We haven’t had anyone come out yet to say their identity has been stolen.”

MLL recently completed its 17th season, the last under outgoing commissioner David Gross, who announced in December he was stepping down from the position he has held since 2004. The league has not yet hired Gross’ successor.

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