Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court... Madden Document Played Critical Role

November 11, 2008 -

A U.S. District Court jury in San Francisco has awarded $28 million to a group of 2,062 retired pro football players in a class-action lawsuit against the National Football League Players Association. The NFLPA is the union which represents active NFL players.

The jury returned a $7 million verdict against the NFLPA and then piled on $21 million worth of punitive damages.

While Madden publisher Electronic Arts was not a party in the case, the NFLPA's negotiations with EA over licensing the images of retired players was a central piece of evidence in the trial, which lasted for three weeks.

As GamePolitics reported before the trial began, lawyers for the retired players uncovered several "smoking gun" e-mails which indicated that the NFLPA not only sold rights to the retired players at below market value, but deliberately undercut potential competition from rival sports publisher Take-Two Interactive.

Those critical e-mails include a message from former NFLPA exec LaShun Lawson to Madden producer Jeremy Strauser:

For all retired players that are not listed... their identity must be altered so that it cannot be recognized [by Madden players]... Hence, any and all players not listed... cannot be represented in Madden 2002 with the number that player actually wore, and must be scrambled.

In an apparent reference to Take-Two's failed All-Pro Football 2K8, an e-mail from NFLPA exec Clay Walker touches on how Take-Two lost out in the union's deal with EA:

Take Two... went after retired players to create an “NFL” style video game after we gave the exclusive to EA. I was able to forge this deal with [the Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with $400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there.

At issue was the depiction of old school players on classic NFL teams included with Madden. The Los Angeles Times reports that each retired player involved in the lawsuit will receive $13,000. Lead plaintiff Herb Adderley, who wept when the verdict was read, told the L.A. Times:

If you look at the 1967 Green Bay Packers in that game, you'll know that the only left cornerback that year had to be Herb Adderley, but they scrambled my face and took the number off of my jersey. Yet, they had my correct height, weight and years of experience.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that defense lawyer Jeffrey Kessler expects the jury's verdict to be overturned, calling it "unjust as a matter of law." An appeal to the 9th Circuit Court by the NFLPA seems virtually assured.


Comments

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in ...

That is really great news but I wonder if they ever thought of pre settlement lawsuit funding

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in ...

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

En Mexico quien sera el indicado de emitir el voto por todos nostoros los mexicanos? si cae como todo lo demas en el senado el voto sera el mismo siempre ya que ni trabajan y de ser el CONACyT espero realmente se pongan las pilas para evitar el mas que evidente monopolio por parte de la ventanita

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in ...

EA was at no point a defendant or party in the court proceedings. It has not been charged of any wrongdoing ( Online University ) and its purchase of the retired NFL player licenses in question were done within the eyes of the law. The defendants of the case were the NFLPA ( School of Nursing ). The matters surrounding the deal involving NFL 2002 was one of several accusations against the NFLPA. The defendant’s lawyer Jeffrey Kessler says he expects the jury's verdict to be overturned. ( Human Resource Degree )

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

The NFLPA on the other hand did have that obligation to do the best they could for their members, both active players, and retired ones. film izle

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

And they should have acted due to that obligation.

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Garry Wertu

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Also, as far as Jibboo's comment about no one caring about old players, how many people are buying the game to play the 2008 Browns? Or the Raiders? I bet if you look at the raw numbers of what teams get played the most, the Dolphins aren't in the top 10. And how many gamers make trades until all the household names are on one team?

Is anyone playing Madden for anyone other than the marquee players? Yet the no-name jobbers get paid in full for their likenesses. Name one guy on the Ravens that isn't Ray Lewis. Or the second-string QB on the Colts. That guy has a SB ring and no one knows who he is.

That's the point of this lawsuit. Fair money, or at least fair business practices. But you can't take away both.

-Legend in my spare time

-Legend in my spare time

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Here's a thought: Madden sucks. When was the last good Madden game, Sega Genesis?

Any monopoly is bad, especially in a creative field like video games. And what is the only way to break apart this monopoly? Stop buying the crappy schlock they throw out each year. Force them to make a better game. Go out and buy another football game to satisfy your temporary desire to play virtual football.

One week after the game's release, every year, there are at least 20 copies that have been traded in at GameStop, EB Games, etc. It reminds me of the guy sin NYC who protested the French a few years back by buying French wine and then dumping it down the sewer. That is moot beacuse the French already have your money, so what do they care if you dump it in a sewer?

Same with Madden. As long as people buy the game, EA and Madden won't care if the game gets returned, broken, lost, given away, thrown out, or traded in. The only protest is to ignore them (like that episode of the Simpsons when the advertisements come to life).

Also, the guy that wrote that "EA owes me" email is so burned. HAHAHAH! And if I were T2, I would sue EA and that guy for unfair business practices.

-Legend in my spare time

-Legend in my spare time

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

 

Amen - football games haven't been the same since EA got a monopoly. Hopefully we see the end of the exclusive EA/NFL relationship someday.

-------

My Site: Toy Reviews

------- My Site: Toy Reviews

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Sadly Jibboo is probably correct, the use of old players as a selling point is at best very limited but if the player's likenesses are used, they do have every right to be compensated and I'm damned glad the NFLPA didn't get away with treating them like crap

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Seriously ... is there anybody out there buying Madden so they can be the 67 Packers? or the 76 packers for that matter or how about the 86 packers ... man nobody cares about guys who played in the NFL 20 years ago ... unless they are Jim Brown or Walter Payton.  These old guys should be thankful that anyone even remembers who they were.  I highly doubt there are many 50-somethings playing madden.

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Wow, non sequiteur much?

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

From the story, I think that EA's not going to be fined anything, but it's the National Football League Players Association that's footing the bill. So I'm pretty sure that EA is off the hook, as they can simply feign ignorance and say they had no idea the Association was undercutting T-2

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

I think that EA's off the hook regardless, from the standpoint that they have no obligation to provide the best possible for retired football players. The NFLPA on the other hand did have that obligation to do the best they could for their members, both active players, and retired ones.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

HA! Eat it EA! That's what you get for your dirty law practices!

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...


Yeah EA, give T2 some money, haha. 

barra - I think that every day...

Funny thing is, EA is at 22.9, which is less than their bid to buy T2, who is at 12.1...  T2 used to be 30% the price of EA, now it is around half the price.  That is just stock value though.  T2 is still only worth 12% of what EA is, even though I wish it was an exact relation to the stock price.

---
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Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

EA being evil? I could have never guessed...

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

One week after the game's release, every year, there are at least 20 copies that have been traded in at GameStop, EB Games, etc. It reminds me of the guy sin NYC who protested the French a few years back by buying French wine and then dumping it down the sewer. (torin floor jack and low profile car jacks)
Garry Wertu

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

"unjust as a matter of law."
Because we all know the law is supposed to protect crooks that scam people out of the money they deserve. *has flashbacks to Sinfest comic about Bankstas*

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

I don't think those old school NFl players deserve to win, but who am I to say that.

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Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Duh. That is what the law is for.

Re: Old School NFL Players Score $28 Million Win in Court...

Funny thing is, EA is at 22.9, which is less than their bid to buy T2, who is at 12.1... T2 used to be 30% the price of EA, now it is around half the price. That is just stock value though. Commission Ritual Bonuses | Commission Ritual
Garry Wertu
 
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Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - Not sure what that has to do with anything but yeah, the gender percentages differ depending on how the study defines what a gamer is.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
KronoThe rhetoric pushed by the spearheading articles that the "gamers" complaining about journalist ethics were just angry white male misogynists, insulted a lot of people that were previously fairly neutral. It made it go from a Kotaku problem, to a09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Krono@Andrew I'm not surprised overlap exists. I expect much of it is a rush to jump on the bandwagon, either by reporting on the original articles, or rushing out their own. The point is that was a major flashpoint, much bigger than the reddit mass deletion.09/18/2014 - 8:31pm
Sleaker@AE - well the gamer trend was described with stats on Factual Femenist. Only 1 in 7 males plays games 20+ hrs going into college vs 1 in 40 females. So gaming is definitely still male dominated despite fake stats trying to say otherwise.09/18/2014 - 8:30pm
Craig R.Do conspiracies ever make sense? The fact that people are now having to defend themselves against nutjob websites like Breitbart.com shows how far down into the rabbit hole we've all been forcibly dragged.09/18/2014 - 7:05pm
 

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