Former Oakland Raider: Many ex-NFLers Depicted in Madden without Permission

December 3, 2008 -

The fallout continues from last month's $28 million federal court verdict which ruled that the NFL players union scewed retired players out of licensing revenue from the best-selling Madden NFL game.

It's a bit complicated, but the short version is that the union (NFLPA) gave retired players the option to sign onto a group licensing authorization (GLA) by which Electronic Arts was entitled to use their image for Madden's classic teams. The retirees, however, alleged that they never received any payments based on Madden. The money went to active players, instead.

Yesterday, former Oakland Raider Dave Pear, a veteran of the silver-and-black's 1980 Super Bowl-winning squad, maintained that the NFLPA continually overinflated the number of players who actually signed the GLAs. At its worst, according to Pear, the NFLPA 's 2007 annual report claims that more than 2,900 retirees authorized their image to be used while court records obtained from last month's trial show that only 22 retired players actually signed a GLA that year. Pear writes:

Does this mean that any players who hadn’t signed a GLA or been included in the list can now sue Electronic Arts directly for copyright infringement if their images were used in their Madden video games without their permission? And does it also mean that the retired players who were excluded from signing GLA’s have been misrepresented by their union, the NFLPA?

While EA is not a defendant in the case, which is under appeal, Madden revenues were by far the largest economic point of contention. If EA has a potential problem going forward, it could be with retired players who never signed the GLA yet were portrayed in Madden. As GamePolitics has reported, the NFLPA conspired with EA to "scramble" the images of retired players. A critical piece of evidence in the recent federal court trial was an e-mail 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.


Comments

Re: Former Oakland Raider: Many ex-NFLers Depicted in Madden

Greed pure and simple from EA, not the players.

Football players havn't always gotten paid the millions they do today.  In fact they used to get paid shit for how brutal teh game used to be.  Now its become more about drama than competition and more about satefty than football.

And as a dedicated NFL fan I memorize the legendary teams by these things.  The year the played, the possition they played, the number on their jersey and how they won it all.  Scramble the names, hell scramble the numbers if you want.  I'll always remember that the starting defense for the Steelers durring Superbowl X was L.C. Greenwood(DE), Dwight White(DE) Joe Greene(DT), Ernie Holmes(DT), Jack Ham(OLB), Andy Russell(OLB), Jack Lambert(MLB), J.T. Thomas(CB), Mel Blount(BB) Glen Edwards(SS) and Mike Wagner(FS).

I wasn't around durring that time but I've read and heard so much about them I know.  The current Steelers Defense is playing incredibly well and even if they don't go to the Superbowl this year I'll remember them even better as Brett Keisel(DE), Casey Hampton(NT), Aaron Smith(DE), James 'Silverback' Harrison(OLB), James Farrior(MLB), Larry Foote(MLB), Lamar Woodley(OLB), Deshae Townsend(CB), Ike Taylor(CB), Ryan Clark(FS) and Troy Polamalu(SS) [Lawrence Timmons is one beast of a backup LB and William Gay and Bryant McFadden are excellent CBs]

Basically what I'm saying is you can scramble the names and numbers all you want, but people will know who is supposed to be there.  And as a NFL fan I think its a shame what EA is doing.

Re: Former Oakland Raider: Many ex-NFLers Depicted in Madden

Personally I don't know why players get into such a pickle about this.  They're famous players - their names and faces SHOULD be on games and bloody hell, if it was me, I'd be PROUD of having my name and image in a game.  This is just players with million dollar salaries showing that they're all about the money.  Greed, pure and simple.

If they wanted to be anonymous they should have taken up accountancy, refuse collection or draughtsmanship.

What next - are we goinmg to have WW2 vets whining about their names and images being used in a WW2 game?  These games are homages to the people involved.

Re: Former Oakland Raider: Many ex-NFLers Depicted in Madden

I really how those guys sue...  I just want to see EA squirm...

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