NFL Retiree: EA Pays for Realistic Madden Weather But Won’t Pay Us

Late last year, NFL retirees won a massive $28 million verdict against their former union, the NFLPA, when a federal court jury in San Francisco decided that the old time players’ images had been used in EA’s popular Madden series without their authorization.

Following an appeal, the retirees accepted a just slightly less massive $26.25 million settlement. Although EA was not a defendant in the case, there has been talk by at least one militant former NFL player that a similar suit against the publisher may be in the offing.

It’s very clear that, despite the big settlement dollars, hard feelings linger among the retirees. One of the more outspoken ex-players, former Oakland Raider Dave Pear, bitterly notes that EA has licensed realistic weather for Madden, but won’t pay to use former players, who no longer appear in the game. Pear writes:

Retired players are so sick and tired of getting ripped off every time they turn around. We recently came across an article that Electronic Arts was partnering with The Weather Channel to pay them for weather statistics to make Madden Football X more “realistic” – but they DON’T want to pay the retired football players themselves for their stats in order to make the game more “realistic”. I wonder when they’re planning on screwing around with the weather so they won’t have to pay for that either…

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  1. 0
    Ratros says:

    Porno pics it is. 

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  2. 0
    JDKJ says:

    What?! My evil plan to destroy EA won’t work?! It could have worked if it wasn’t for those meddling kids and that damn dog!!


    I "hate" a lot of things. But EA isn’t one of them. What I do hate with an abiding passion is an ignorant-ass dumb-fuck who’s too stupid to even realize that they’re an ignorant-ass dumb-fuck but still wants to treat me as if, between the two of us, I’m the one who’s an ignorant-ass dumb-fuck.

  3. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    I don’t think he’s really one to want to destroy EA, but I do think JDKJ is quite certain on the fact that joint liability is a definite possibility. I don’t think that will destroy EA, but then, if the case is proved, they don’t really deserve to get away scott-free, like them or not as a game company, you can’t let them walk away from something like that, if for no other reason than it sets a bad precendent.

    I would say those Emails indicate that EA were fully aware of the fact that what they were doing was attempting to thwart the law, it won’t kill them, but it will, at least, convince them not to do it again, otherwise you’d basically be saying that, as long as you change the name, no-one has to pay licensing fees to famous personalities ever again.

    That’s my take on what he’s saying, anyway :)

  4. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    And perhaps you could stop using your innate and obvious hatred for EA as a soapbox for finding whatever you can to destroy them.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  5. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Do you frequently answer questions which are posed to you with questions of your own? Kinda makes for a rather question-filled conversation, don’t you think?

    And EA need not be "ultimately responsible" in order to be liable. Here’s another legal concept you may want to familiarize yourself with: "joint liability." Between Defendant A and Defendant B, it need not necessarily be the case that only either one of them is liable. Sometimes, both can be liable.

    You seem keenly interested in legal issues – or, at least, pontificating on legal issues. However, I suspect, based on the accuracy of your pontifications, that you’ve never formally studied the law. If you haven’t, perhaps you should consider the possibility of actually attending law school. I’m confident doing so will improve the quality of your pontifications.  

  6. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Alright, if EA is ultimately responsible, why do they have to pay the NFLPA for the rights to use the players in the first place?  Also, if EA is responsible, why didn’t the retired players sue them in the first place?  Why is it that the story alludes to the idea that suing EA isn’t what the group wants to do, but is just the idea of an incensed player that doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  7. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Lemme ask you this: From whom did the money for the undervalued license which the NFLPA should have been using to fairly compensate all of its members but didn’t because they were too busy selling out some of those members come? Wouldn’t that be EA? Who, more than anyone else, benefited from that? Have you ever heard of a legal concept and a cause of action at law called "unjust enrichment?"

  8. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Follow along, if you can:

    The NFLPA says to EA, "Look, we can let you have a license which will specifically cover some but not all of our members. That way you won’t have to pay the full price for a license covering all our members. But, for the members which aren’t specifically covered by the license and for which you aren’t paying, you’ll have to thinly disguise their likeness if you want to make them appear in your game because technically you won’t have any permission to use their likeness because they aren’t specifically covered by the license. By thinly disguising their likeness, however, everyone who plays your game will still be able to look beyond the thin disguise and figure out who the players are but you still won’t have to pay for using their likeness. O.K?"

    EA says to the NFLPA, "O.K. We can do that. You’ve got a deal."

    Did you follow me? Or should I repeat it more slowly?

  9. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    If they never paid for those likenesses, then why did the NFLPA tell them to scramble them in the first place?

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  10. 0
    JDKJ says:

    What you don’t seem to get is that all parties to a contract are obligated in all aspects of that contract – from negotiation to final discharging performance and all points in between  – to proceed in "good faith and fair dealing." A party’s failure to proceed in good faith and fair dealing is actionable by other parties to the contract and any beneficiaries thereunder. EA’s scrambling of player identities in order to avoid paying fair market value for a license isn’t exactly the textbook definition of good faith and fair dealing. But you can certainly think it is, if you want. Why not? You’re usually wrong about everything else.

    And you’re misstating the facts. EA never paid for the likenesses of the class action retired players and then scrambled those likenesses. If they had paid for the likenesses, then they wouldn’t have had any real reason to scramble them. The scrambled likenesses are of the retired players who were not specifically listed by the terms of the license agreement and therefore not covered by those terms. It is precisely because EA had no right to use them that they ended up being scrambled.  

  11. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    It’s still the NFLPA’s job, as (supposed) representatives of the current and former members of the NFL, to make certain those players are compensated.  They, instead of compensating them like they were supposed to, told EA to just scramble said likenesses after being paid by EA for said likenesses.  Therefore, it’s on the NFLPA, not EA.  That’s what you don’t seem to get, that the people who were supposed to do a job, didn’t.  Because they didn’t do their job, people didn’t get what was rightfully theirs.  How is that EA’s fault?  Because EA made money?  You’ll need a better argument than that.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  12. 0
    JDKJ says:

    No, EA paid the NFLPA for the players specifically listed by the license agreement. For the players not so listed, they thinly diguised their likeness in the game and didn’t pay anything for that quasi-use.

    And you are confusing – or at least failing to distiguish between – two distinct classes of persons. One is the retired players who had their likeness scrambled and therefore were not compensated at all for the use of their likeness and the other is the remaining membership of the NFLPA. The former have been compensated by class action judgment. But the latter are still out of pocket by virtue of a severely undervalued license agreement. They have every entitlement to sue EA for the disgorgement of the unjust profits reaped by virtue of that sweetheart deal. 

  13. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    It doesn’t matter what I believe, it matters what you can prove.  Your "proof" is an e-mail from the person I said is the bad guy telling the person I’m saying isn’t responsible to do something to cover the ass of the person I said is the bad guy.  Regardless of EA’s reason for doing so, you prove I’m right, that EA had a legal obligation to do what they did, as they were told to do that by the license holder.  You either do what the license holder tells you, or you don’t get the license.

    Do I believe EA did something fishy?  Hell yeah.  But the fact of the matter is the players sued the NFLPA (you know, the guys who actually did something wrong) and were given money in leau of what they should have been paid, had the NFLPA did what they should have done.  Suing EA is just going for money that they already have, because EA paid the NFLPA for the use of the retired players.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  14. 0
    JDKJ says:

    No, you idiot, the NFLPA’s e-mail to EA advising EA that in order for the scheme to grant EA a license at a severely under-valued price to work, EA must "scramble" retired players’ identities and thereby exclude those players from compensation under the agreement coupled with the fact that EA did indeed scramble the players’ identities as they were advised to do is evidence of a lack of "good faith" on the part of EA. You make it sound as if EA was an innocent and passive participant in the scheme and their hands are as clean as fresh driven snow. That, to me, doesn’t appear to be the case. Do you seriously believe that scrambling the players’ identities doesn’t begin to evidence some amount of knowledge on the part of EA that the agreement to which they were a party was more than just a bit shiesty? If so, do you also seriously believe that one day you’ll have enough IQ points with which to form a cogent thought?

  15. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Wait, an e-mail from the NFLPA to EA is evidence of EA’s wrongdoing?  You’re such a fucking idiot.  You prove that it’s the NFLPA that did wrong, like I pointed out, but you use that as proof of EA doing wrong.  EA can’t have done wrong by your example, because it’s the NFLPA that did it.  That’s like saying I tell you to sell something for me, something that isn’t mine, and I tell you how to sell it, but you’re to be held responsible for how it was sold.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  16. 0
    JDKJ says:

    A lot of people seem to be under the mistaken impression that all professional athletes are like Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, signed to multi-million dollar contracts. For every Kobe Bryant there are 100 other guys who get chump change in comparison. Moreover, because the 100 other guys don’t have the name-recognition that a Kobe Bryant has, they don’t ever get the multi-multi-million dollar endorsement deals that a Kobe Bryant gets (which is actually where the real money is and makes the multi-million dollar salary look like chump change in comparison). There are plenty former professional athletes who have to sell real estate or life insurance to survive once they’ve left the sport.  

  17. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    Check JDKJ’s post just above yours. Realize you don’t know SHIT about what you’re talking about. Keep that mouth shut until you actually get some facts done with and stop talking out of that ass of yours.

    I once went through a baseball stats sheet. There’s only a handful earning that >1m a year. Many are stuck at 15k or so. You say "some football players". Exactly. Some. And these lawsuits aren’t done by ‘some’ football players. They’re done by members of the rest of ’em.

  18. 0
    KayleL says:

    Life is not fair. They get paid millions when they were playing football. What about the people who work are coal mines or steel mills 50-60 hours a week with low paying wages. Anyone who says that the football players work any harder then those miners on a daily base for long term I’ll call bullshit. But why the hardest working people don’t even get 10,000th of the pay of some football players?

    This kind of reminds me of the episode of south park when they were showing how downloading free music is affecting artist’s life, and they went from using top-of-the-line private jets, to just a model lower, so they are depressed.

  19. 0
    CyberSkull says:

    Look, you use someone’s likeness commercially you are required to compensate them. Not only is that the law, it is simply the right thing to do.

  20. 0
    nighstalker160 says:

    So the retired players don’t deserve to be compensated for the use of their images or statistics? Alright, how about you send me a picture of you and I’ll use it for something andnot pay you. See how fast you decide I should be paying you.

  21. 0
    Stealthmaster says:

    Bitch bitch bitch bitch. Be glad you are on a game (and a VERY popular one i might add) in the first place. It would make young football fans look a retire player up and see there greatest plays and might become a fan themselves.

  22. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I totally agree that they should be compensated.  However, the NFLPA was at fault, not EA.  They sued the NFLPA and won.  What more do they want?  Current players don’t get money from EA over the Madden games.  They get it from the NFLPA, who handles that type of stuff.  The retired players got their money from the NFLPA.  That’s what I’m saying.  Maybe they should have used that time they spent in court to guarantee themselves future stock in the NFLPA and in the Madden series.

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  23. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    What the hell, you guys think they shouldn’t be compensated for the use of their image? I mean, obviously they wouldn’t give a shit if someone made a tiny little flash game that used them or something. But this is consistently one of the biggest selling games every year. And anybody here whos image was used in a product making that much money would sure as shit want to be compensated.

    There is obviously some serious envy going on here. 

  24. 0
    JDKJ says:

    If we start from the assumption that their stats and playing numbers are a part of their likeness (which is actually a fact, not an assumption), then the NFL doesn’t at all own those outright. The retired players also have some ownership interest in them. And, hence, some entitlement to fair compensation for the use thereof.

  25. 0

    It’s not up to EA to do it, it’s the NFLPA and besides wouldn’t the NFL own their stats/playing numbers? Of course I know their argument is that the number on their old uniform and their stats are a part of their likeness but meh, whatever.

  26. 0
    JDKJ says:

    I’m willing to "flame" you not because you stand up for EA but, rather, because, as seems to be your tendency, you run your mouth without having much of a clue of what you’re talking about.

    As became evident at trial from a series of smoking gun e-mails presented during the successful class action against the NFLPA, there was apparent collusion between the NFLPA’s representives and the producers of Madden to strike a deal at a price severely below the fair market value of the rights through a deliberate course of conduct on the part of the producers of Madden to use "scrambeled" references to the retired players in order to avoid having to fairly compensate them.* That’s what you call "good faith" on the part of EA? If so, that’s what I call you being a "good faith" idiot. 



    * "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." (e-mail from NFLPA executive LaShun Lawson to Madden producer Jeremy Strauser).

    "If you look at the 1967 Green Bay Packers in [Madden], 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. (lead plaintiff Herb Adderly’s public comments after the verdict).

  27. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    I do see one problem with this.  By not naming EA as a defendant in the suit against the NFLPA, and giving some of the arguments in the case, I think they actually closed the door on suing EA, because they said that EA paid the NFLPA for the rights to use the statistics of retired players.  In essence, this guy wants to sue EA for money they already got from the NFLPA, and for money that EA already paid in good faith to the people they already sued.

    In essence, this guy wants to be paid twice.

    [Let the flaming commence because I stood up for EA.]

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  28. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Particularly when you consider the fact that the League makes more money every year than there are grains of sand on a beach. Now tell me who’s being "greedy."

  29. 0
    Ratros says:

    Wow.  It’s bad that they don’t get much, not enough for all their problems, but what makes it worse is that everyone expects them to be rich.

    I once had a dream about God. In it, he was looking down upon the planet and the havoc we recked and he said unto us, "Damn Kids get off my lawn!"

  30. 0
    JDKJ says:

    Are you saying that retired NFL players get millions of dollars a year to sit on their asses? If so, you have no idea what you’re talking about. The current pensions provided them by the league and their union is a sad joke. For example, players retiring after the 2006 season would have received the following benefits:

    • Severance — Players get $12,500 per year, up to $15,000. A vested 10-year veteran would get $125,000. The benefit tops out at $200,000.


    • Medical insurance — Good for four years from end of career. Player is eligible after three years and three games.


    • Annuity — Available at age 35 or five years after career ends, whichever comes later. Starting in 2001, players with three years and three games experience receive $65,000 per year in tax-deferred compensation.


    • 401(k) — Available at age 55 without penalty. Can receive at 45, but must pay 20 percent tax hit.


    • Retiring Medical Savings Account — New, enters the plan with this collective bargaining agreement. Player gets $25,000 per year once he is vested, topping out at $300,000. Similar to a bank account and to be used for health-related issues.


    • Life insurance — Under the previous collective bargaining agreement, the policy went as follows: 1 year – $150,000; 2 years – $180,000; 3 years – $210,000; 4 years – $240,000; 5 years – $270,000; 6 or more – $300,000.


    • Pension plan — Previous plan ranges from $200 a month per accredited season to $425 a month per accredited season.


    For some players from the late-1950s and early-1960s who missed the post-1990s mega million slary gravy train when free agency merged with salary caps, they’re lucky if they’re not having to eat cat food to surive. Some specific examples:

    Personal: 81 years old, living in Baltimore with his wife, Margaret, and daughter Dina.
    Career: Played guard on offense and linebacker on defense in a five-year career (1950-1954) with the Baltimore Colts, New York Yankees and Dallas Texans.
    Pension: $1,000 a month.
    Issues: Has endured four-way heart bypass surgery, knee and hip replacements, a stroke and separate surgeries to clear out both carotid arteries in his neck.
    Quote: "My father is not one to complain about anything," said Dina Averno. "He’s from the old school. He played with dislocated shoulders. If he could walk, he’d still be working now."

    Personal: 76, living in Fremont, Calif., with his daughter, Kathy Moppin.
    Career: Played one year in the CFL, 12 in the NFL and finished with the Houston Oilers in the AFL in 1966. Rushed for 1,000 yards twice with the Pittsburgh Steelers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
    Pension: Approximately $1,600 a month.
    Issues: Has early-onset dementia and serious short-term memory problems. Also has a pacemaker and spends about $800 a month on a dozen different medications.
    Quote: "My dad’s a great warrior," said Moppin, a nurse. "He needs to be taken care of, and I feel bad he’s not taken better care of. I’m not making a lot of money. I know at some point, I will have to make a decision for a higher level of care."

    79, living in Chandler, Ariz., with his wife, Donna.
    Career: Played 14 years with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Baltimore Colts. A 200-pound fullback, Perry rushed for nearly 10,000 yards and scored 513 points. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1969.
    Pension: $1,489 per month from pre-1959 years and $167 for his last four years as a vested player.
    Issues: Has pugilistic dementia and suffers from short-term memory loss.
    Quote: "People expect Joe, because he’s in the Hall of Fame, to come and appear at [different functions] because he’s got money," Donna said. "There’s no money. We’re on a fixed income, so we have to budget everything."

    You think these guys are getting millions of dollars for sitting around on their asses? Guess again.



  31. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    Considering they get paid millions of dollars a year to sit on their asses, no, they get no sympathy from me.

    They get so much money from all their other licensing stuff, what EA would be able to pay them is pocket change compared to their numbers. Besides, EA DID pay them, but they didn’t think was enough.

    What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of "Greed."

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