The NFL Players Association has settled for $26 million in a legal battle with a group of retired members who claimed the union improperly licensed their likenesses in products including Electronic Arts' Madden NFL
The settlement reduces the Association's payout from a total $28 million ordered. Earlier this year, a San Francisco court awarded $21 million in damages
to the players, compounding the $7.1 million in royalties the Players Association was ordered to pay in November 2008.
According to a report in the New York Times, the Players Association's executive director, DeMaurice Smith called the settlement a "step forward in our effort to become one team
," and the move will help achieve better relations with retirees after past conflicts over disability and pension benefits.
The settlement does not affect the other outstanding conflict around licenses in Madden
, however; in April 2009, retired Cleveland Browns defensive back Bernie Parrish said the group would pursue Electronic Arts and John Madden himself
for royalties, claiming they, too, exploited players' likenesses without payment.
Parrish claims Madden has collected "over $100 million in royalties while paying the retired NFL players used in those games absolutely nothing."