Absentee Parent = The Same Old Warrior
By John Weaver
It's no secret that Warrior lacrosse pushed the limits of taste and truthfulness in its advertising efforts over the years. Utilizing negative advertising along with references to drugs, prostitution, pornography, pimping, and general womanizing, the Michigan based lacrosse manufacturer had converted their image from industry joke into industry bad boy. Back room deals with retailers, blatantly copying ideas for everything from products to advertising, stealing other companies' employees, monopolizing the post-collegiate league, forcing the players in that league to use Warrior equipment along with the hefty weight of the Powell Brothers' celebrity have actually elevated Warrior to a legitimate status, at least in the eyes of the new lacrosse player. It's not that the old Brine-STX dominated lacrosse world was without its own bitterness and nastiness but Warrior took it all up a notch or five.
I cannot remember an early conversation with Warrior's owners or staff where they did not bad-mouth the competition long before touting their own offerings. Saturating the market with so many mediocre-to-bad lacrosse sticks was their next big strategy. How many of us felt really sorry for the kid who'd actually bought a scorpion, perhaps the worst lacrosse head ever made. When Warrior scooped Mark Millon from STX, he couldn't even play with a Warrior head until they knocked off a flat STX Hi-Wall and created the Odyssey. They used the tagline "The means to dominate", but the ongoing joke was "the means to replicate". They copied their first Women's stick unabashedly and even used a picture of the stick they copied instead of their own in the initial ads for the product. When UnderArmour emerged as the hot new product in lacrosse, it was only a matter of time before Warrior had its own version. In the world of lacrosse where we refer to others in the industry as "good guys" as a matter of basic vernacular in our close but competitive environment, a true bad guy had emerged and his name was Dave Morrow. Morrow gained fame winning a national championship at Princeton, where he introduced the titanium defensive shaft which basically gave anyone with the financial means a chance to dominate.
Morrow originally shopped the titanium idea to lacrosse big boys at STX and Brine. It was determined that a much more expensive shaft which only a few could afford was NOT an advancement in the game but perhaps, even, another reason for schools and youth programs to balk at the cost of setting up a program. After all, isn't there always another very expensive material that can make shafts lighter at a cost. I sat in an airport bar in 1998, explaining to a titanium salesman in the airline industry that we now had $150.00 titanium poles and he laughed at me. He spent the next ten minutes telling me how silly that was from every technical aspect, but alas, pockets in some lacrosse areas were deep enough to make titanium the new big thing in our sport. E-Lacrosse spoofed the titanium shaft one year on April Fool's with a phony ad for the Helio shaft that fictitiously levitated off the ground. The next year Warrior came out with the Levitation series - the originators that they are. But titanium did change the game. A prep school team could have a distinct advantage over some public school team based on how much cash Mommy and Daddy could lay out for a shaft that eventually escalated in price over the 200 dollar point. Somehow Warrior convinced folks that a small guy like Mark Millon could be a great lacrosse star amongst the life-sized pro athletes of a growing game, while at the same time, everyone needed to outspend the opponent on Warrior equipment to succeed at all in lacrosse.
Conspiratorial retailers re-enforced that notion with kids in order to sell the higher end product and the game's overall cost escalated much faster than its growth. Unsuspecting kids on Long Island had to wade through aisles and aisles of Warrior gear just to see the STX and Brine equipment on the back wall at Lacrosse Unlimited. Great Atlantic seemed like they were in a partnership with Warrior for years telling kids that the Warrior stuff was as good, or even better than the time-tested brands we all trusted. Return bins overflowed with broken warrior heads at every retailer I visited. Even Warrior's star athletes joked about the shoddy quality in closed circles. One could simply feel and even see the difference in quality between a plastic head made by Warrior and the others. The most expensive Warrior gloves were often sewn short, unraveling even before a full season had passed. E-Lacrosse does annual reviews of products that the manufacturers send us. Warrior, while constantly complaining that we are bias against them, has never once sent equipment to be tested.
BUT THAT WAS THE PAST!
NEW BALANCE BOUGHT WARRIOR LAST YEAR!
Perhaps many industry participants and parents heaved a sigh of relief when the socially responsible and reputable shoe company, New Balance, bought the out-of-control manufacturer. By that time Warrior was using the Major League Lacrosse pro league as a battering ram of monopolistic marketing, at the players and team owners' expense. They were calling other manufacturers' products rip-offs in advertisements, putting words like PIMP on their actual gloves played with by kids, naming colors after illicit drugs that the kids recognize but the parents might not and sundry other Dave Morrow brilliances at the expense of the game and it's citizens. It was said to me recently by a former Warrior employee that it was obvious Dave Morrow wanted to rule the lacrosse industry even if he had to ruin it to do so. So, when the shoe company I had trusted and respected for years got into lacrosse, by buying Warrior, I just assumed that an era of responsible advertising, ethical sales practices and an almost cordial environment would return to our great game.
The release of the new Warrior Heroine (pronounced harrow - in) shafts with "softgrip" is tantamount to a street mugging of Harrow in broad daylight while we all watch it. And it sure seems like the old idea-stealing and rubbing-it-in-your-face Dave Morrow. The new Mac Daddy gloves and advertising sure seem like the old using-pimp-lingo-to-hawk-bad-plastic Dave Morrow. A good view of Warrior's corporate values can be found in one convenient self-incriminating visual at the new Laxicon lacrosse glossary on the Warrior company website. The Laxicon, a lacrosse dictionary, was built over the summer on E-Lacrosse with the help of hundreds of fans. It was a public effort. The Laxicon page averaged over 1 million page views each month since, as a stand-alone section of E-lacrosse. We've had over 130 requests to print it and use it for classes. Warrior liked the idea so much they stole it. And they stole the name to prove it. And then inside the glossary they are so proud of "creating" they include the made-up word BRINIKATE. The definition: Ripping off someone else's idea and calling it your own. We laughed for an hour at the absurdity of it all. Brine probably did not. The pre-populated definitions, all seven of them are terms you'd love your kids to use. There's JAM-BALZ, UP YO CREASE, SKID MARK, and BUTTACUP, a new sexist term. The already sexist abbreviation "MILF" isn't defined but is used to describe a woman you might send them a picture of for their Miss Warrior contest. We won't define MILF here but it's pretty disgusting, especially if it's your Mom represented by the letter M. Look for the term "Laxtitute" to be added soon. We've turned that one down at least a hundred times.
The inability of the folks at Warrior to create something original that doesn't rely on the disgusting, perverse or simply immature is obvious. Let's, by all means then, allow them to create words for our kids to use on lacrosse fields. Let's make sure the word P.I.M.P. is on the Team USA gloves and that every kid has a KIND GREEN shaft because green is boring compared to a good illegal drug reference. Most readers will realize that I am joking. But that's just what Warrior intends to do and that's OK with a lot of people. We spoke to representatives of New Balance, the parent (albeit, a permissive and neglectful one) company and to Princeton University, the Warrior sponsored collegiate powerhouse and hotbed of liberal political correctness, and… nothing. New balance "trusts" current management to know their audience, YOUR KIDS, best. And Princeton's administration and official PR people thought nothing of it and likened it to Darla "Sparky" Burns' references to drinking alcohol in her E-Lacrosse column. While drinking occurs at Princeton, like most colleges, pimping is NOT an accepted activity, even amongst the heaviest drinkers. Doesn't this company sell women's equipment too? To whom - the women Dr. Phil talks about that seek out abusive relationships over and over again?
Gosh, John, you are such a prude. Sex sells. That's for sure and that's ok. It's time tested and pushed to the limits by many advertisers in many industries which, from time to time, reign in a campaign that goes too far. But I don't see pimps in ads selling basketballs or tennis raquets. Are Pimps ok in lacrosse because Dave Morrow knows his audience? Or is that a campaign gone to far. Where is our industry conscience? Even at the ultra liberal Princeton University, where a debate might well argue the demeaning of women created by prostitution in opposition to the right of a woman to do whatever she pleases with her body, the pimp is still a bad guy, right? I mean... where's the pro-pimp lobby? Who does the word pimp appeal to and, more importantly, is that YOUR kid? Is your kid a future Mac Daddy? Does he or she often follow adults using wannabe street language to sell them things that might harm them? Good luck with that juvenile court thing.
We all love it when a kid chooses to play lacrosse and hope he or she succeeds fabulously at it, following in the footsteps of generations of honorable and respectful lacrosse people and families. In lacrosse we've always had the good kids. They have to go to college to play at a high level, and our colleges are top notch. The skills needed to master the game are earned with honest hard work, sportsmanship and a team ethic that demands respect of others. Dave Morrow knows our audience? This year's Warrior sticks feature the PENETRATOR and the SNATCH.
So, what's next? We thought of some funny, absurd and gross follow-up products that we might have to endure should the trend continue, but, however hilarious, we will not include them here. As gross as they are, some could very likely lead to new Warrior innovations. What's next is really up to you. The consumer always determines the market's limits and lacrosse is no different. And we'd love to hear your feedback. Let us know if you were enlightened by this editorial or even if you felt preached to or if you thought I was unfair. We'll print the responses in the weeks to come.
Wow! The Letters are coming fast! LaxPower, Lacrosse Forums and the Brine Forum, have good threads on the topic. Here are some of the comments we've gotten so far. We only used a paragraph from each but made sure to make your sentiment clear, pro or con.
November 10, 2004
I noticed the new "Mac Daddy Glove" special edition is $300. That's absurd. - Shaun
I play for the Cannons. Warrior's product is garbage. I break a D shaft a game, and yet they sell them to kids for 200 bucks. Call me old fashion , but I want a quality product over chintsy advertising.
During our month of training camp I play with a shamrock shaft. I think it costs 40 bucks, they were kind enough to send me some my senior year and I have only broken one over that time span.
Warrior needs a lesson on business ethics. - Unnamed for good reason
Wow. That editorial really opened my eyes. I never really noticed things like that before, but come to think of it, pretty much everything you say is true. I have never been able to use a warrior stick for a full section of try outs, much less an entire season, and their marketing is gross. Thanks very much for your article. - Jack
While I agree that the marketing direction that Warrior has chosen leaves much to be desired (I am the parent of 7 and 4 year old boys and a 5 year old girl), the mere whiff of competition was enough to get Brine, STX, Cascade, and now Shamrock, DeBeer, Harrow, and Gait into the game of better marketing and more product choices. More choices can potentially allow for better choices. There comes a point, however, when you are standing on the floor of a major lacrosse supplier, gazing at a wall of head and shaft choices, wondering if any of it makes any difference. It does. When I switched from an aluminum shaft with numerous dents and bends to the titanium shaft, which to this day has only a single ding, I felt my game get better. Perhaps it was purely psychological, but a great deal of sports is psychology. I chose to spend the money on a better product. That choice was a good one. Thanks for the article. - Carl
I found your article on Warrior Lacrosse/New Balance quite interesting. I find that kind of advertising to kids to be offensive. I am surprised that Tim Robertson (son of Pat) who is a part owner of Major League Lacrosse allows a company that advertises in this manner to be part of
Major League Lacrosse. I also think that New Balance and Warrior are owners of the League....which would make them partners with Tim Robertson. I guess that sports, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows. - Jack
I like the article and hate Warrior. I bought some RPM pros last year and they lasted 2 months before completely falling apart. Price definitely does not assure quality.
A journalist’s job is to expose the truth and make us think about our own complicity and accountability for what is wrong with our world. Thanks for doing your job. Hopefully, all of us will do our part to remind our manufacturers and their advertising firms that the young female athlete should be encouraged and celebrated not objectified and denigrated. - Sue
"Utilizing negative advertising along with references to drugs, prostitution, pornography, pimping, and general womanizing" So? Then i guess you have a problem with other advertisers, such as Hagen-Daas who in Germany had a woman pretending to have an orgasam ON-AIR during prime-time. Victoria's secret has thier models jumping around half naked on T.V. at around 7pm(cst), when kids still watch T.V. Lets face it. Sex and advertising will always be there. I will agree with you on the fact that they don't need to put a "Miss Warrior" page on their site, or the constant references to prostitution, but they are trying to connect to people my age (15-19). That is the kind of language that we use. And a lacrosse company using modern marketing techniques isn't going to curb anything. - Alan
I thouroughly agree with every point you made, even though I wasn't aware to the extreme that you mentioned. I'll stick to my joe-shmoe STX shaft and Brine Edge +. Now the only piece of Warrior equipment I own is disgusting to me. Anyone want a Blade cheap? - Kevin
THANK GOD SOMEONE SAID IT - GOOD ARTICLE! I have been watching the blatant rip offs by Warrior over the years. Cascade and Under Amour being the biggest. I hope these companies are suing the crap out of Warrior. It just seems so arrogant to just copy every good idea in the industry. Mike Powell’s new site on Brine says one thing he would never do would be to go to a Warrior Photo Shoot. Check it out, pretty funny. Thanks again. - Jim
Great job, John. Ask the folks at USL how many ads have been rejected for publication in the magazine of late. The women's side of the sport are LIVID over this. The real sad thing is that the competition is beginning to mimic Warrior in creative. - George
Just a thought, I agree about warrior, but they are not all to blame. Just
because stx and brine give you interviews and gear and warrior doesn't,
doesn't mean brine and stx don't copy, etc... -Nick
Thank You! This should be printed and placed in all retailer aisles. If my son learns what Purple Haze is someday, so-be-it, I'll deal with it, but I would prefer he not learn about drugs while shopping for new lacrosse equipment. - David
I just read your piece on Warrior. That was a full on frontal attack. You gave Warrior a public dose of all the whispered comments left to linger in the dark corners of each year's national convention. While I sort of respect what Warrior's done to raise the "cool factor" bar in lacrosse through their marketing, the shame of their ways far overshadows any of their advances. Jonny Q-Laxfan (or more importantly... Parent) has probably never heard of all of the dirty palm greasing that the Warrior boys are so fond of in their "Business Relationships". Your expose' is one of the most honest and forthright expressions that the lacrosse industry has ever seen, and much needed. Morrow and Warrior's mindset and marketing approach are part of the larger problem. - Adam
I was totally enlightened by your article.I guess I can be counted as one of those absentee parents, although I certainly never thought of myself as such. I have three children, two playing lacrosse in college & one playing in high school right now. I am afraid to ask them how much Warrior merchandise I have purchased over the years that may have contributed to the success of this offensive company. I have always felt as you, that lacrosse was a honorable and respectful community. Your article did an excellent job of enlightening me to the fact that Warrior is neither of those things. I will certainly no longer be purchasing Warrior merchandise. Thank you. - Lisa
This is a fantastic piece. I thought that all the points that Mr. Weaver made were accurate and very “eye-opening.” I am not yet 26 years old and yet I still remember when the equipment everyone used was either STX or Brine. As a college coach I laugh at the names and references that Warrior makes – not because I think it’s funny, but because I can’t believe they got away with it. I agree with what one person said – they have tried to raise the cool factor of lacrosse; but then again, wasn’t it cool already? Honestly, isn’t that why we all wanted to play in the first place? At my level I’d like to believe that everyone knows that a stick is a stick is a stick and to read about Warrior only makes me sad to see the end of those days that I held onto so well: the days of my STX head and Brine pads. Lacrosse is still a small enough community, why can’t any of us do something to stop this? Why hasn’t anyone stepped up to stop this? It’s not like we’re basketball or football with money running every single thing – this is still the brotherhood and sisterhood that we grew up in. The game of lacrosse is expanding, and it should; but let’s not sacrifice the real innocent people in this – the kids who will actually buy this crap. - Carl
I play for the rattlers, and this is a great article. Even if something in the advertising doesn't offend you, the substandard products should. This season alone I lost count of how many $100+ short shafts I went through, at one point our team ran out of extra shafts because they couldn't replace them as quick as we were bending/breaking them. And they charge the public how much for these things? The heads, they speak for themselves, cheap, great to look at, but don't always expect to make it through a full season on the same head. I also play in the NLL and its clear that warrior sucks for indoor use. You want to talk about business ethics? Lets talk about the firing of the Powells now that Morrow is a rich-er man...where was the payout after the NB buyout to those who helped establish his market share?! I get the stuff for free, and I still don't want to use it. - Unnamed and ashamed.
Warrior, for years, has made inferior equipment. if i recall, they offered a lifetime warranty on their initial shafts in the early 90's. I guess that predicated things to come because that
policy was never upheld and shafts started to break left and right. The growth of warrior and its force fed marketing has been the purpose and drive by our own "governing" agency, US Lacrosse. It has been that way ever since dave morrow bought his way onto the us team (please, everyone knew it, wow, he scored a goal in the championship game, he must be good!). Ever since those days, US Lacrosse has made sure that warrior has been the official sponsor of its US teams. Anyway, warrior has not been alone in their monopolistic growth and attitude. US Lacrosse has been there every step of the way. I tell all the kids I have ever coached that in all my years of playing, coaching and watching lacrosse, I have never seen a player look or ask what kind of stick the player who just scored a goal or threw an awesome take away check, was using. It is about results. Just like you can't buy a golf swing, fancy, new lacrosse equipment don't do jack! - Jim
I am a 27 year old lacrosse junky who played at the now dismantled Boston College program. I read all of the lax pubs, catalogs and anything regarding lacrosse from front to back. Frankly I am shocked that it took this long for Warrior and Morrow to be exposed on this. As you show the handle names fom the 2003 catalog, they were in the 2004 and now in the 2005. Some would call it ballsy, most with a younger sibling or with respect for our game and women would call it irresponsible and degrading. To the credit of most stores who also put out catalogs,they change the names in their own catalogs from Warrior's. At least they understand what is over the top and what is ethical. I hope someone does push this in front of a top exec at dateline or 60 minutes. As where Warrior and Morrow would probably think it would be great to get that exposure and it probably would increase their popularity amongst the 12-17 year old they are selling to, groups, teams, and institutions would most likely get the pressure to take notice, namely US Lacrosse. I have a good friend whose brother plays at Brown University. According to him, their coach just sold out Brine for Warrior because they got offered free shoes from Warrior. I wonder if Brown University would react the same as Princeton did. I would guess Princeton was protecting Morrow based on him donating big cash there every year. For Brown it would be free shoes versus the values they want to align their institution and program with. If they picked the shoes, I would have to say that the Ivy League is not only a breeding ground for pimps but for whores as well, meaning their coaches. For the way Morrow has treated the game, he should change the M in his name to an S. -Chris
Great eye opening enlightening article. I can't believe I've been oblivious to Warrior's marketing. I run several lacrosse camps sponsored by Warrior but I don't feel comfortable pushing Warrior any longer. - Jed
Well done, certainly a scathing indictment of their marketing and unfortunate for the game. - Brad
Warrior’s shafts are the only ones without warranty. The heads break in the hands of my 8 year olds- the gloves unravel- and most importantly, the barrage of “buy me to be cool” advertising aims to convince the kids that skills don’t matter. It’s the cost of your gear that gets you your game. With the advent of Pimp-style advertising, the High School players I talk to are already laughing at the cheapness of the Warrior style. - Coach Steve
EXCELLENT ARTICLE! As a player / coach / fan I strongly agree. The only problem is Warrior knows how to get their message to kids whose parents don't see the same things, and it's kids who are able to have parents shell out the bucks for new gear every year. Adults players don't buy flashy equipment that snap into 30 pieces on occasion. If I were still coaching I'd hand out a copy to all my parents! This company is disgusting and doesn't care about it's customers, they go for getting into the kids market before they try other superior products. Not many ex-collegiate club players I know would choose Warrior if it wasn't handed to them. In coaching I had two kids snap 3-4 Heads in a season! How do you become a good player by constantly using a new head! We had their helmets on our club team, more than one cracked the first year. In all my years I have never seen in any sport a helmet crack. Unbelievable! As a college player getting free Warrior gear I used to break two of their heads a season, the 'indestructible titanium which was bent beyond use or broke as quick. Since going back to Brine I've broke one head in 4 years and had the same shaft for 8. I will say Warrior started some trends in their gloves (which also fall apart), but others have caught it and Brine and STX have some great products lately! - Todd
I want to thank you for putting a voice to the thoughts so many of us have had for quite some time. The blatant rip-offs from other company's product shows the lack of creativity and innovation on Warriors part, the most outrageous being the Superfreak, (if it weren't for the patent leather, anyone could mistake them for the Supercrosse). As someone who is in charge of the team gear for several teams, I would never have parents spend their hard earned money on cheaply made equipment that feels great for a month, and then falls apart. It's surprising that Brine and STX can make a product that feels great off the shelf, and improves with age; while Warrior's product is the best it is ever going to be when new.
I just read your article on Warrior and their blatantly disgusting marketing ploy. I am a senior marketing major at LaSalle University and also the captain of th club lacrosse team (no division I due to horrible football team snagging all the budget). I noticed Warrior's disespectful marketing campaign as soon as they started. Now with the macdaddy gloves it's just getting out of hand. I wanted to thank you for writing that article. I can imagine the heat you willget from people in the industry for writing that peice but just know your message was heard. I personally dont use Warrior products because they are shoddy and made poorly. I'm a Gait man. Anyway thanks for the article. I will be looking forward to your next one. - Marty
While I agree with your editorial in spirit, I think you miss the mark on some key points. Specifically, your depiction of Warrior as shameless copy-cats may be essentially correct, but in any given industry, a successful product will almost always be ‘knocked-off’ by its competitors. The choice is then left to the consumer to find the product with the highest quality that fits their own personal style/budget/tastes. And that comes to my second point: Warrior equipment just plain isn’t good. It’s slickly marketed, and the Official Equipment deal with the MLL was VERY smart business from a marketing standpoint, but truth to tell other companies just produce better equipment. The negative side to Warrior’s forays into other markets is that it drives the price up. Warrior has long over-charged for their products—probably because they spend so much money on marketing, and paying Jesse Hubbard by the hour to come up with product names like ‘razer’ and ‘xacto.’ Now, just to compete, other companies have to boost their advertising and that in turn brings the price of their product up. My personal issues with Warrior stem from their advertising. I think they appeal to the lowest common denominator of the lacrosse population. We’re all smarter than that. Nobody I know gives a rat’s ass what the name of their stick or gloves are; they’re just looking for quality. Which is why most of my friends use Brine or STX gear. Yet the kids who are new to the sport are being taught that flash and sparkles and pimped-up gear is what you need to be a good lacrosse player, not hard work and a smart head on your shoulders. Excellent article, by the way. I’ve always felt Warrior’s tactics were at best boorish and at worst downright sinister, and with the sudden influx of money from New Balance, they have the financial power to control the lacrosse market. It’s something that needs to be addressed as lacrosse grows into a national sport. - Matt
Thank you, thank you! I am the team rep for a young team. '05 will be year three, at a "downtown" high school! We are a magnet school with a very diverse population. I am asked all the time to help kids buy equipment and to purchase equipment for the team. I don't have a long history in lacrosse, but when I saw the Mac Daddy gloves I thought, what a pimpy sounding name, why in lacrosse? Thanks for enlightening me and helping to guide our shopping. I will strongly discourage boys from purchasing Warrior's equipment and I had heard that their sticks didn't last a season, whereas my son has had his Brine Matrixs for several seasons! After this election I am not confident that Americans can process a lot of information that isn't marketing info, but those that can must make informed decisions!
- A Mother
I loved your article TO DEATH! I've been a Warrior-hater for five years. I've played the sport of lacrosse for six. I think they are just ridiculous for trying so hard to fit in with the "kids." Lacrosse is a sport. We need equipment. Real players (not "playas") need quality equipment, and a lot of us are not made of money. I own Supercrosses, but I'd buy a pair of STX Gladiator gloves for $105 over Warrior's "Super-duper-amazing-pimp-playa-hoochie-snatchin'-awesome-shiny" $300 Mac Daddies. What kind of name is that, anyway? Nevermind, don't answer that. Anyways, I just wanted to say THANK YOU - for educating the players of the best sport ever. - Andrew
I bought a $115 Warrior KryptoPro and after a short time, it snapped right in half! It broke into two pieces! My teammates, after seeing this happen are now purchasing KryptoPros! Warrior has established itself to where it has a stranglehold on the new lacrosse player market, especially out here in the northwest. - Alan
I use a revo with an original titanium from warrior. Have been for 5 plus years. Splits time with my proton or assasin. It's ok. The rest of warriors stuff sucks. In six years of college level coaching, I've run across two types of players. Those who don't care what color their shaft is and those who swear by warrior. The former is usually the player. Warrior stuff is really about the same as other companies stuff. (At this level, almost everything breaks quickly.) But God is most of it ugly. Who wants shiny metallic junk? Oh, kids do? Maybe warrior is marketing to the audience, but i can't condone their ads or product lines. So I'll always choose from another company. Solution: teach and play outside the game of commercialization. Use an old shotgun with wood for all I care. If you practice with it, you'll be just as good. - Mike
Can't we all just say "NOT IN MY GAME, YOU DON'T!" and get rid of this guy. Is Princeton proud of him. They should spurn him like they would a sexual offender on campus. He obviously has no kids or he is a lousy Dad. - A proud Harvard grad
We've just met with our school's AD and taken this article to him. There won't be a warrior item allowed on our high school's team this year. Remember the St. Paul's video sex scandal a few years back if you just want to see the effects of this sick type of marketing on kids. F... like you are on film???? Please. St. Paul's, by the way, reacted to their scandal with honor and adult responsibilty. Is there an adult at Warrior who can fix this and save the company. Otherwise, I think they peaked the day before your story. Great job! - Mrs. T
All young ladies should print this and take it the boys they know. It's pretty clear that this is offensive to their female friends. The drug references should be offensive to any parent. Isn't it hard enough to raise kids without all this stuff? - Anne
Bravo!!!! It's about time somebody wrote this article. It's about 1 or 2 years behind, but at least it's here now. The blatant copying of products is something that Morrow has perfected. Let's look at the Stryke Helmets. Cascade C-Pro = Stryke Pro Z. Goals - In The Crease 500 Backyard Goal = Warrior 5000 Backyard Goal. See the extra zero? That makes it different, right Vanilla Ice? Our company has refused to show the "Warrior Colors" and promotions in our store. We feel that this is in our best interest as a supplier. We do not want to be associated with these advertising ideas. If more of the retailers did this, it might make both Warrior and New Balance rethink things. If they spent half as much money on trying to better the sub-par equipment they mass produce, as they do on lousy advertising, they might actually be worthy of the amount of sales they get. They are the leader in the market today, but flashy colors and "hip" names are not a substitute for quality. There is always room for another manufacturer in lacrosse. It brings ideas, choices, and competition to the industry. We have been trying to explain for years to the manufacturers that lower prices and quality products will bring more players to the game. They would rather rape you with a $150.00 glove than sell you a $65.00 pair that is a nice glove and keep you as a repeat customer. Lacrosse is becoming more mainstream, and it can continue to grow if the major companies just realize who they are selling to. Paul Gait, watch what Warrior does, and do the opposite, and your company will continue to grow. - Anonymous (So that our company does not get reprimanded)
My wife pointed me to your article after reading about it in the Laxpower thread. For the last 10 years or so I have been coaching youth league and high school players in women's lacrosse. Qutie frankly, I've never really noticed much of the Warrior marketing simply because their women's lacrosse sticks are so terrible I know of no one who uses one by choice. The only feedback I ever heard was complaints from one of the national teams that had to use their merchandise. We as parents and adults can solve the problem by refusing to buy Warrior equipment. We need to convey to New Balance our disgust with the marketing practices. One writer calling may not make an impact - hundreds, if not thousand of irate parents will. I will be making my call today. - Ed
Warrior knows what kids want. They now that shocking ads will bring buyers regardless of quality. As long as its cool kids will buy it. Thank you for finally bringing this to light but a word to those who wrote in - ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS. - Reice
So, if what you say is true about warrior ripping off every other company then why do Brine and Stx both make a titanium shaft? If you really want to get technical Stx came out with the first open sidewall. Every company has those now john. Brine made the first offset head and again everyone has them now. So if you wanna try and bust one company. Open your eyes to the rest of it. Lastly lets move on to the subject of the pot callin the kettle black. So Warrior uses sex and drugs to sell their equipment. So do millions of other companies out there. And this article coming from the man that is founder and director of a lacrosse tourament in Amsterdam, really surprises me. When I think of Amsterdam I think of legal drugs and the red light district. And the same guy puts in the blue flag rule. Get a blue flag and have to chug beer. And lastly, all this after you were helped out with the lodging and other tournament sponsorships in London and Amsterdan by UKlacrosse, which happens to be a Warrior company. And you turn and bash the hell out of them! - Kevin
I was someone who used to be in Warrior's inner circle. I can explain it all. The street slang and drug references they use in their advertisments to try to make themselves look cool because in real life they are NOT. - No Name
I just read ur article on Warrior and I agree with alot of it. I bought some RPM pros, and they lasted me about a month and half. The mesh on them ripped all over my hand and fingers. They didnt even last a whole indoor season, and I was using them once a week. I bought some Brine Supercrosses next and I've had the same pair for over 2 years. No sign of ripping in them. I use alot of Warrior heads though, and have only broken one Blade. Their heads are the only equipment I'll ever use from them. Thanks for the article. - Tommy
Let me say first that I am a goalie and very few companies market "good" goalie equitment. While i have a Titan Classic, a Nemisis, and one of Warriors first chest protectors i still agree with a great portion of this article. BUT you must admit, after Under Armor did come out, many companies did attempt to replicate it, including Nike and other leading brands. Why just the other day, after my morning log onto laxshopper.com to check out the new gear by all companies, I noticed Warriors "NEW" line. I mean REALLY they took their old goalie head (Abyss) and carved small W's into it....and that's supposed to make ME a better player? riiiight.....I was talking to another teammate of mine who happened to mention the EVO and REVO PROS, call me crazy but I honestly can't find any major differances in the old from the new designs..Is Warrior honestly selling out? Although when I first got a pair of superstars, and showed my friends the "pimp" we were all amused, I never really considered some 7 year old reading it and later asking his mom what a pimp was....lets just say that my eyes are now open to warrior's ploys to profit. Good work E-lacrosse - No name given
Thank you for finally ripping into warrior overly cocky advertising schemes as well as their poorly made products. I have been telling my friends this for years and some people have called what I say just some stupid lacrosse conspiracy theory but now that this has been put out in the open I think Warrior will start to be exposed for what they really are; a detrimant to lacrosse's image. All Warrior is are titanium shafts, really stupidly named products, and a bunch of overlyhyped names in the MLL that aren't as good as their rival brand's counterparts like the greatest of all time, Gary Gait. To put it bluntly Warrior should start thinking about the game and the people they sell their products to rather than how much money they can make. - No name given
I wonder if anyone at Warrior knows what pimp slapping really is? Ask any city cop. The method employs broad strokes across a woman's whole face and head so as not to specifically "bruise the goods". It's real and is nothing to laugh at. My kids will get new sticks this week and the Warriors they have been using are going in the trash. - Tim
While I thought the article, at times, overanalyzed the overall sentiment that Warrior is a shady disgusting company is true. The only problem I see is that all that advertising might be working. I mean they are the industry leader having advertised like that for the last few year. And rumor has it that Brine might even start this "PIMP Slapping" flashy type stuff in order to take some of Warriors market. I just fear that Warrior is actually making all this dishonest advertising work, and that other companies might follow. Hopefully not, and hopefully this article and all this lash back will hit home with the big wigs of MLL, Warrior, and New Balance and things will change. - Jason
I have to say, for the most part, I agree with your article. One thing i have to say though is that the main group the Warrior seems to be marketing is the 15-21 age group and those around there. Now as an 18 year old, I understand what the reprocations from this type of advertising can do, and maybe I'm a turn out from it. But I do know is that my age group tends to speak in and use some of these terms. Now when a company prints pimp on a product it means one thing but i have noticed in the past that I have used the word pimp to describe things. I do agree that the point to which warrior has gone to is too far. - Nate
Awesome article, a truly eye-opening piece. I really feel that in the end, Warrior's shady wheeling and dealing will catch up with them. - Matthew
Amen - I'm glad to see support from the pro's for this as well. This is an amazing and very special game to a lot of people and needs to be treated with respect. More importantly - our children need to be respected for what they can become - great sportsman who support the game...not street trash like 'pimps' and 'womanizers'. Thanks a lot John - you're doing a great service to the game with this article. - Dave
Warrior is taking away from the game itself. It is ruining the pride of lacrosse; instead of worrying about their skills kids today are worrying about their looks. While as Brine, STX, and Debeer sell their equipment on the promise of performance and quality, Warrior sells it under the idea of flashiness and bigotry. It really just disgusts me what image of lacrosse has become over the years. People now think of it as a sport for rich, preppy white guys that get everything from their parents. While that may hold true for people up north, here in Virginia, I'm struggling to even pay for a couple of lacrosse balls.
Very well written. About time someone has the marbles to say what everyone is thinking. I would love to have some insight into some New Balance execs to pass that onto. Maybe rattle Morrow's cage a little more. Again, great job! - Matt
I currently play on three club teams and coach a youth team, including my son. My HS and college playing days are way past, but the thing that strikes me is that Warrior’s advertising is probably working - and the real question is, why? Why does the current-day 15-21 year old (mostly white, mostly suburban) male segment respond positively to this content? A few have chimed in and said “that’s the way we talk”, and all I can say is, “good luck with that”. I hope your education furthers you beyond that point, because you’ve got a rude awakening coming soon enough. Look, Warrior and Morrow will not be called on this stuff until sales slip, and slip badly. There is only one way to get there from here, and your article is a start. Getting it in front of parents who give a damn would be a nice second step. - Paul
Please excuse me if I offend you by saying that your editorial was terrible. Honestly, when I read this I felt I was listening to an old man whine about "these kids today". If the names of the products offend you then please don't buy them, but please tell me if Warrior goes under if you and your supporter's boy-cot these products. If you are so concerned about the influence Warrior has on the youth of the game then please tell me what kind of parents are buying these products for the kids... Warrior is brilliant for coming up with these names for their new line. Hell I bought into it, as did the majority of lacrosse community has, and will keep doing. Just think of who is buying these products, obviously you have not been the ON the field playing in a long time, look at the men club teams, look at the college players, tell me they care what the gloves are called. If they do, why wouldn't they want their gloves to be called "MACK DADDY". I don't even feel like I should touch upon the ethics of business with you. Not saying that you are right, but what company (successful company) hasn't done what they have done. DO YOUR RESEARCH! Get out on to the field talk to the players, not the parents, not the coaches, talk to the people who actually spend their money in an educated manner, the 20 - 35 year olds who actually STILL play, STILL have fun. If you still do play the game, get off the gezzer team if you can and play with some younger guys who will show you that no-one but the old people care about this crap. As for me your scaring me with all of this stuff honestly, I play lacrosse to get away from politics, you sound like a Mike Powell (not Mikey), you're the new FCC of E-lacrosse. Keep your "religious right", keep our children safe out of lacrosse. PLEASE !! - Andy
John, That was the biggest tear session I have ever read in my life.How many boxes of tissues did you go through? Warrior is a better run company from end to end. You are just another one of these so called lacrosse purist who are bitter the game they played is not the same. You long for the days of viper's and hiwalls. I hate to break it to you, but those sticks sucked, and now people finally have a third and better option. Hockey equipment is just as expensive and if you bought football equipment it would be way more expensive than both. If you are that cheap buy a soccer ball and call it a day. We don't need people like you and the negitive attitude you put towards lacrosse. Oh and by the way, what they are doing is called capitalism and I think it has been working pretty good. Just ask Bill Gates. Don't be a hater. Sprite uses rappers to sell there soda and you know how bad those guys are. Just take a deep breath, and calm down. Its ok everone will be alright. Everyone steals ideas from everyone. How about Brine coming out with a helmet after warrior? Its all about marketing, and warrior does it better than anyone. Just like nike. - Tim
Despite everything you said in your article and despite what others have voiced to you via feedback, there is one underlying fact which remained to be voiced: choice. Sure what Marrow is doing may seem unethical and sexist, but he’s a businessman and businessmen make money. You can either choose to purchase Warrior or choose not to. Having been a manager at Abercrombie & Fitch for a few months, I would have moms complain and bitch about the photos on the wall, the material of the clothing, and what was printed on the clothing. After about 5 minutes of this, I swipe their card for $500 and put their kid’s clothes in a bag. The majority of parents will buy their kid’s what they want because they want it. Warrior and Abercrombie run parallel: both are sexist, elitist, and discriminatory towards the poor. Perhaps people are bent out of shape with Warrior’s approach because it paints a nasty picture to a very respectable game/sport. Typically, people who get upset from what other people tell them about a personal trait or profession are insecure with themselves. Personally, I can swing either way with Warrior’s products and advertisements. Hell, I’ll be honest, I like their approach because it’s not the same boring approach Brine and STX may have. On the other hand, I won’t buy anything Warrior makes because I trust Brine and have for years. If someday my kid wants to buy warrior products, I won’t let him buy them because of their advertisement, no, I won’t let him buy them because of the quality. About the article as a whole, it’s nice, but you need to include more player opinions(both ways). That way, it’s not just you creating all the heat about this topic, thus people won’t consider you so biased. - No name given
Well written and insightful, but I have several problems. I have played lacrosse for 8 years, some with club teams and some with HS teams. I currently play with an old warrior Titan Classic and a Finalizer. I bought this equipment because I felt it helped me play my best. Warrior equpment does break, but not at a faster rate than Brine or STX. I do however agree with your point that the slang terms and "street" terminology cheapen the game and shed a negative light on its players. Its a great article, keep them coming. - No name given
I want to thank you for opening a can of worms. I have two degrees, one in advertising and one in public relations. It's interesting when you can look at both sides of the coin. Warriors advertising actually hits the target market that they aim for, 16-20 year old men. Unfortunately it leaves the rest of us out in the cold. My PR instincts tell me that an ad campaign based on 70's style pimps, prostitution, and drug references should really be jerked, especially from a sport played by youth. I will defend Warrior in the fact that sex does sell and with current ad campaigns I wish you luck to find a few without sexual undertones. I don't know why lacrosse companies (Warrior especially) don't realize that it takes 6 times the effort to get a new client. That is a proven fact in the advertising industry. A company has to work 6 times harder to entice a clientele to switch to their product than they do to keep an existing customer happy. With a quality made product there would be no need to advertise thanks to word of mouth and satisfied customers. - Josh
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am to see somebody say it. This company is the reason lacrosse prices have gone trough the roof. You should see what they are doing to the small specialty stores now. Forcing owners into purchasing outrageous amounts of equipment otherwise they'll drop them. Not caring whether the owner can afford it or not. It's a company that is all about money and doesn't believe in the word integrity or business ethics. Thier equipment is trash and the sticks are just second rate, breaking whenever it gets a little cold. As a former high school and college coach I would always make sure the kids knew the reality of this company. Thank goodness most of them understood and didn't bother purchasing Warrior products. I am so glad that I was able to keep kids away from this company and their products. They are certainly one of the biggest problems in lacrosse right now. Of course I guess it's what we should expect from a trust fund kid like Dave Morrow. - Tim
Warrior equiptment isn't bad at all. Has anyone senn the new evo-pro? If this head is a copy tell me wich one it's copied from, because I'll go pick one up. Also just beacuse a glove says Mac Daddy doesn't mean whoever has them is going to become a pimp. Thats like saying kids who buy grand theft auto vice city are cerial killers and drug transporters. Just the other day my friend broke his 2 day old STX profile by hitting it on the ground. Brine copied the superfreak cuff with the defts. I went to a Warrior sponsored tournament and there were no pimps or [prostitutes], it was just lax all weekend. - Bob
My congratulations on an article/editorial that is well written, accurate and severely needed. It wasn't the copy cat routine that bothered me, but the adoption of the Viacom mentality of Bevis and Butthead... . I don't believe the people at New Balance had a clue as to what it was that they really bought when acquiring Warrior. They owe you some big time thanks and I hope that they are astute enough to recognize and correct this smear on the game. I am very proud of you. - Peter
I worked at numerous high level lacrosse camps this summer and the younger the players, the more warrior equipment bought buy their "well-off" parents. I play division-I lacrosse and only one team we played used warrior equipment, and they were an awful team (that should say something about what equipment top-notch players prefer). Also, I have yet to break a warrior blade, but I have broken at least 5 razers, a finalizer and 2 evolutions. I like razers but if I was not able to trade my broken sticks in for new ones, I would not use warrior equipment. Their prices are absurd and their advertising is laughable. Warrior is advertising to younger players and it is working. Few high school and college players are very interested in the MLL, therefore it is the younger children and their parents that attend most of the games; Just another place for warrior to show off its sexy equipment. Brine has by far the best ad is the business; the ad zooming in on Syracuse's, LeMoyne's and Salisbury's pads, all three were the National Champions of 2004. Something to think about...keep up the good work ELAX. - John Doe
I just read your Warrior article and totally agree. In Canada (Ontario), Warrior has year to take hold. Right now, other manufacturers are selling lots to our children and the advertising has yet to penetrate to the point where people think they will “mack” or “pimp” because they can afford a pricy glove. When the team I coach was in need of some new equipment, a lacrosse website offered us an excellent deal on Warrior shafts, gloves and heads. Needless to say, the d-poles are broken, the gloves are poor and the one head remaining was given to a player to test his dyes. I totally disagree with Warrior’s advertising strategy. The way they link sex to our game is a joke. In Canada, our roots to the indoor game are strong and with many native Canadians dominating the sport, our link to the game (can it be called their game?) is strong too. I feel that the sportsmanlike behavior of lacrosse should be present on the field as well as off. Although we are intense athletes, we are not stupid. Warrior takes a shot at other companies for copying other manufacturers? Funny, I was told by a Warrior employee that a Razer and other sticks are copies of the Brine Edge and Stx tried-and trues as a means of keeping the MLL players happy. - A Canadian Laxer
As for the "ethics" or "morality" of Warrior's advertising themes, I'm willing to let the marketplace respond. I grew up in Detroit (yeah, the real city, not some suburb) so I understand urban slang and urban culture as well as the next guy. I'm not that wild about hip-hop or gansta culture, but it's a valid culture, just as are Christianity or tree-huggers or gay people or vegans or....whatever you're into are valid cultures. Cultures develop unique language. If Warrior designs an ad campaign around gangsta, that's their choice. Adults need to figure out that this is a dominant theme among certain demographics that buy lacrosse equipment. I've coached that demographic, and I've learned plenty of language from them. Geeze, people thought that Elvis was going to cause sexual revolution by moving his hips. Life went on. There's always some uptight, holier-than-thou person shaking his/her finger at some nonconformist. So John, you and your editorial are not new; you're in the proud tradition of Joseph McCarthy, and yes, Pat Roberston, as invoked by another commenter. Proud company indeed. I'm glad that lacrosse is the official sport of Canada. With the raging conservatism and the thought-police mentality that's sweeping the U.S. of A., I expect to slip over the border soon. I keep waiting for the pendulum to swing back to a little "lighten up" and a little of the 60's and 70's. I'm not afraid to say it: I'm a liberal, I'm for free speech, I don't get shook up over words, and I play lacrosse.
Why did we get the country founded by religious zealots, and Austraila got the one founded by convicts? Loosen UP. - Bob
I was enlightend by your article and how Warrior is marketing their product. I never liked Warrior stuff, only because I saw that it was cheap (not price obviously, but quality) and none of their sticks appealed to me. The people I feel sorry for are the kids that buy into this crap, believing that they will become "cool" or maybe even good lacrosse players if they use Warrior products. The only way to become good lacrosse players is to work hard, practice as much as possible and watch as many lacrosse games as you can. Equipment doesnt make you a good laxer, especially sticks that break and give you no consistancy. Too bad marketing to a target market with sex and cool words makes alot of money, but then again who doesnt do that in the world of advertising. (Coors Light might be the worst beer ever and they sell so much of it because of their advertising campaigns). I buy products based on their preformance and quality, keep getting the word out to future laxers and get them using the best equipment, not the most expensive. - No name given
First i believe that Warrior when they first introduced their brand they were making quality equipment. I have a pair of Mercury Gloves from 5 years ago that can attest to that. As there reach into Lacrosse has become deeper though, the quality of the product has reached the point where i would NEVER EVER buy another warrior product. I just cant afford to pay $180 dollars every 8 months for new gloves or pads.
Marketing wise, like Josh an earlier poster pointed out, Warrior have done a highly effective but in your face advertising campaign. Remember John, Sex sells!
Its a proven fact in the advertising industry, especially when the target market is between 18-25 and even the 15-18 target market. Does it mean that they are right in doing so? The answer from me is NO. I would not want my players thinking they are pimps or gansters just because they wear Warrior gear, let alone if i had a son or daughter playing lacrosse. In the end your article was well written and very thought provoking. I would be suprised if Warrior did not change some aspects of there company, or if New Balance forces them too. - Khris
Great article! Like the rest of the world around us it comes down to the dollar ruling peoples motives. Shame on Dave Morrow. He was a great player and I enjoyed watching him but the Almighty Dollar appears to rule his life and that is to bad for him and our great game. - Bill
Your article was well written only if you like to read one sided, biased opinions. You should be writing for a politician somewhere. The most sickening thing however is your preaching that Warrior's best interest should be the integrity of the game and not their bottom line. I agree that their references to drugs and prostitution aren't all that appealing to me. However, like it or not the stereotype for a lacrosse player, fan, parent, coach or whatever is that of a partier, dude. Have you been to a final four, or Lake Placid, or Vail, or any tournament, or a lacrosse convention where alcohol isn't almost as important as the game itself? Would you have written this article if Warrior used names for their products that referenced alcohol rather than illegal drugs? Doubtful, but if you did it would be hypocritical. The people at Warrior are business people. The people within the lacrosse nation have created the stereotype. Warrior is only using it to market their product. As far as creating product that only the rich can afford, that's called marketing, not exploiting. Are you living in a hole somewhere? Do you remember Air Jordan's? How about CU31, then titanium baseball bats? Or maybe the most recent product called Under Armour? Does a kid need a $35.00 undershirt or would a $6.00 t-shirt do ok? If your theory is true then maybe we should make indoor lacrosse centers illegal because only the affluent would be able to play. You make some very good points, and Warrior may go over the top, I only wish the whole story is told. - Darrell
Wow, So many people still obviously effected by the election. It doesn't take a right wing person to know that pimps are not acceptable for even "hip slang". I'm 19 and we don't say that. It may be cultural to someone but not to normal people. As a woman, many of the writers here have taught me that some men just don't get it. "Pimping a ride" is entirely different than pimping a woman and Warrior meant the later, obviously. Women working there should be ashamed! - Janet
Great article John. I actually spent a year studying equipment and how it works at the local college and most people don't understand that titanium is titanium and c405 and just like all c405 material, shafts are all about psi and weight. I will survive without selling Warrior equipment. - Michael
I think that a lot of people are missing something here, LAX is supposed to be fun. who really cares if a company is acting goofy and making drug or sex references. If you don't like their view then you don't have to buy their product. And if you don't like Warrior's flashy- showboat, don't care about the rules attitude, then maybe you shouldn't support lacrosse players like the Mike Powell who are pretty much the Terrell Owens of LAX. Also if you look at Warrior's philosophy, you can see the love and respect they have for this game. Who really cares what the equipment is named, it's only like that to help suburban white kids feel they're hardcore gansta's. IT's only a game. Chill. - Yoyolaxer
As for the "ethics" or "morality" of Warrior's advertising themes, I'm willing to let the marketplace respond. I grew up in Detroit (yeah, the real city, not some suburb) so I understand urban slang and urban culture as well as the next guy. I'm not that wild about hip-hop or gansta culture, but it's a valid culture, just as are Christianity or tree-huggers or gay people or vegans or....whatever you're into are valid cultures. Cultures develop unique language. If Warrior designs an ad campaign around gangsta, that's their choice. Adults need to figure out that this is a dominant theme among certain demographics that buy lacrosse equipment. I've coached that demographic, and I've learned plenty of language from them. Geeze, people thought that Elvis was going to cause sexual revolution by moving his hips. Life went on. There's always some uptight, holier-than-thou person shaking his/her finger at some nonconformist. So John, you and your editorial are not new; you're in the proud tradition of Joseph McCarthy, and yes, Pat Roberston, as invoked by another commenter. Proud company indeed. I'm not afraid to say it: I'm a liberal, I'm for free speech, I don't get shook up over words, and I play lacrosse. Why did we get the country founded by religious zealots, and Austraila got the one founded by convicts? Loosen UP. - Bob
The article was a real eye opener. I guess I had seen the adds but never really read them and being involved with a youth league that has 350+ middle school age kids playing Lacrosse, I am going to forward this article to the parents. - Chuck
I just read your article and am ecstatic that there are so many people that have this opinion of Warrior. I work at a local retailer and it pains me when young kids bring the inferior Warrior products to the counter, and the only reason they do so is because of this horrible advertising. I try my hardest to convince the parents that the equipment is sub par, but I guess they do know their audience because these kids won't budge in their thinking and these parents just do not want to deal with an upset child. And that is sad. - Kevin
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