The MLS is coming back but does that mean everything is going well between the league and its players? Well…. there could be some bad blood brewing. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The MLS may have won the battle but did they win the war? That’s for the future to decide or a future problem that could be potentially brewing. In the short term, yes, the MLS found a way to return after some big time threats. Could that come back to bite them during the next negotiation period? Well, maybe. Some bad blood could be brewing between the MLS and their players.


“Four months ago, when MLS and the MLS Players Association agreed on a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement, the mood among the players was almost euphoric. The MLSPA made gains in free agency and hit upon a creative revenue-sharing agreement that allowed players to take part in the gains of what is expected to be a significant increase in domestic broadcast rights. There were wins for the rank and file as well, with an increase in potential bonuses for players at the lower end of the pay scale.

Except that euphoria has now given way to deep frustration. The coronavirus pandemic meant that that CBA was never ratified, opening the door for MLS to force a renegotiation of the deal. As a result, more than $100 million of gains from the February version will be wiped out over the next five years. That it came amid a threat from the league to lock out the players in the middle of a pandemic left many in the MLSPA membership — including the six whom ESPN spoke with — incensed.

The concessions include a 7.5% salary cut for the rest of this season. That may not sound like much, and the players are well aware of what is happening in the world right now, but when you consider that at least a quarter of the league’s players make $100,000 or less, it cuts a bit deeper than one might initially think.”

I think the boiling point was probably the threat to lock players out for good. That probably rubbed some players the wrong way. Could that have long term effects? Sure. Like anything, the virus screwed over everybody. It feels like more so, the league will benefit 4-5 years from now with the cuts that are coming. At this point, I’m sure most fans are just happy things are starting to get back to normal.