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NFL Union To Pay Retired Players For In-Game Likeness
NFL Union To Pay Retired Players For In-Game Likeness
January 29, 2009 | By Chris Remo

January 29, 2009 | By Chris Remo

The NFL Players Association, the labor union representing players in the National Football League, has been ordered to pay $28 million to retired members for the uncompensated use of their likenesses in products such as Electronic Arts' Madden NFL game series.

In November, a San Francisco federal jury found the NFLPA to be responsible for $7.1 million in royalties to NFL players who were represented in "vintage teams" in Madden titles -- as opposed to the current NFL players who headline the games.

An additional $21 million in damages were also awarded to the players. According to a Bloomberg report, over 2,000 players may be owed royalties for their appearance in video games and elsewhere.

Following an appeal by the NFLPA, a Northern California U.S. District Court judge has upheld the original ruling, which was made last last year.

However, the ruling was made only against the union, and did not involve Electronic Arts itself, which licenses player usage from the NFLPA.

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Stephen Panagiotis
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Ok so people do deserve their royalties but NFL players? Give me a break, these people already earn an outragous amount of money already.

Paying the 7.1 is fine...but they were given an EXTRA 21 million? I know a lot of 'hard working' people that could use an extra 21 million. -.- *rant off*

William Harms
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A lot of the players impacted by this played years before NFL salaries became as high as they are now. They didn't make much money when they played football, got the hell kicked out of them, and now others are profiting from their likenesses. Seems fair to me.

Chris Remo
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Certainly a lot of people could use $21 million, but clearly companies aren't going to go around distributing funds to hard working people just because it would be helpful to them. Why not give it to the people who were judged to have contributed to the success that generated that money in the first place?

Jake Romigh
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Soon: Hockey, Baseball, Wrestling, Soccer, Tennis, ...

Damn, it feels good to be a sportsta.

Kevin Robertson
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NFL Vets have had a terrible run dealing with life after NFL. Players didn't make the millions until the 80s. Many are so run down physically that they are disabled from former injuries. The NFL hadn't done hardly anything for them until recently. There's been a very strong movement to provide for older NFL vets because they didn't make a lot of money, have little now, and worked their tails off back in the day to make the multi-billion dollar NFL we see today. To me its a drop in the bucket and a positive gesture towards the old players.

Kris G
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Kudos! The money-grubbing NFLPA not only cheated the old-timers out of royalties, they ordered EA to not include the old-timers names in the game so they wouldnt owe them any money!! Greedy Jerks.

Jonathan Pynn
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I'm with Tim, likeness rights should be paid as the likeness lead to sales.