NFL players union loses Madden suit challenge

US appellate court affirms November jury verdict awarding $28.1M to retired players over royalty rates for football-related products.

by

A group of retired NFL players have once again sacked the National Football League Players Association. In November, a jury awarded the 2,000-player group $28.1 million in damages stemming from the NFLPA's failure to keep the retired players' interests at heart in negotiating royalty rates for the use of the players' names and likenesses. The complaint covered games, trading cards, and other football-related products and specifically called out the NFLPA's alleged preferential treatment given to Madden NFL publisher Electronic Arts.

Not taking the decision lying down, the NFLPA challenged the call on the grounds that only currently active NFL players were covered by the terms of its deals. Unfortunately for the NFLPA, the US District Court of Appeals for Northern California disagrees.

Bloomberg reports that a US appellate judge this week upheld the San Francisco jury's decision from November, affirming that the NFLPA violated the terms of its group licensing agreements and did not live up to its fiduciary duties for representing retired players. As a result of the decision, the NFLPA will be required to pay the $28.1 million previously set by the jury. About $7.1 million of the award was issued for compensation, with the remaining $21 million coming in the form of punitive damages for failing to protect the rights of its own members.

Discussion

31 comments
Sparty_On
Sparty_On

Madden is the best football game out there and techmo in the 90's as well those were the only two publishers that made the NFL games great and the best. Two 2K sucked making football games they weren't real you couldn't run or pass worth a crap. Madden isn't the same every year as people have been claiming Madden is new every year. The NFLPA and the NFL do need to treat the old players from 50's 60's 70's early 80's better like getting them the help they need.

Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

Awwww I love it when EA lose money... Kidding, that money could be used for a real human's paycheck.

personmann
personmann

hopefully the old players will organize like the NLFPA and give us the old player names for the classic teams. and @farve4thewin: Chuck Bednarik was The greatest center, playing the entire game, most likely to have set the sack record if it was kept in the 50s and 60s, and ended Frank Gifford's career

djg79
djg79

Glad to see the forgotten ones that helped make the NFL what it is today get some due.

favre4thewin
favre4thewin

@ xJackelx saying just don't buy madden, I haven't bought madden in a long time. No need its been the same game since 2005. Lets say I did want a current NFL game though, what would my other choices be? What if Halo had the exclusive rights to be the only FPS on the market. That be pretty sweet right? Depends if you believe in free enterprise and competition. Would it have been as special if Micheal Phelps was the only person swimming in the pool last summer? Would we care if he won gold? @ the ppl thinking guys who played in the 60's and 70's are millionaires: they're not. The salaries weren't even comparable to today. Look up a lot of what Chuck Bednarik has been saying. The guy was an all pro center and MLB and made less than what the playoff bonuses are.

juddstudd
juddstudd

this is a good thing for the retirees. those guys worked their butts off. and ill make a statement regarding the madden sucks/wheres my 2k10 comments(and let it be known that i havent bought a football game in over 4 years, and played both franchises) there are those that compain about madden, and by it anyway and then say its the same game- to that i say "duh" what else are you going to add? all you can really do is improve the graphics, speed up the FPS. and for the people missing 2k... if they were to be able to build an NFL licensed game, what would HONESTLY make it different or better than a madden? im not saying 2k isnt a good dev, theyre awesome, but what are you people expecting?

mwjr
mwjr

Good for the retirees. They deserve it.

ohjtbehaaave
ohjtbehaaave

No wonder EA could buy the NFL License getting huge discounts. Hopefully our sucky economy even forces EA to stiop buying licenses and NFL 2K can get back in the game. As far as the Retired players getting more money goes.... GOOD FOR THEM!!! F' todays overpayed and pampered players reaping all the rewards from a game that the older players built and payed their dues establishing. These older/retired NFL players should get way more money and be taken care of better. The NFL and NFLPA needs to do a better job there.

gameweasl
gameweasl

Thats only $14,050, how weak...

Zaradis
Zaradis

My guess is that money used to compensate players is going right to the physical therapists, physicians, and other health care professionals to ease the pain and increase the quality of life of these players. Football literally destroys the brain with all concussions over the years not to mention the aftermath of rotator cuff injuries, muscle tears and joint sprains. Good luck to those guys.

ManMythLegend
ManMythLegend

You have to understand that many of the retired NFL players that are being rewarded retired BEFORE salaries were as inflated as they are today. Free Agency didn't exist; they didn't have the opportunity to play the market. In addition, many are living on their NFL pension, which isn't the worst thing in the world, but still, for many of these players, this helps them out as they get older.

msudude211
msudude211

Nowadays, it's all about money, isn't it?

taj7575
taj7575

Hot-Tamale Posted Jan 29, 2009 7:39 pm ET I usually side with the unions on this issue, but these football players are already so overpaid. They don't need a couple million $ more... ------------------------------------------ hot-tamale, these arent the players we see now that get paid a lot of money and have a lot of benefits. these are those old school players form like the 60's to 80's who worked everything to football while being paid a very average income.

Hot-Tamale
Hot-Tamale

I usually side with the unions on this issue, but these football players are already so overpaid. They don't need a couple million $ more...

QuazarX
QuazarX

I'll be very happy when NFL2K finally returns. Madden 09 is the first Madden game I've ever owned, but it likely won't be the last. Not until 2K comes back into the fold.

madmanborg
madmanborg

@sportwarrior I'm with ya man the only football game i've bought since 2k5 was allpro 2k8 wasn't great but it still uses the 2k5 engine but tweeked a bit

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

@ahpunk Simple. Most of the people that buy Madden are just looking for a football game. Not only is Madden the biggest name in sports gaming, it's also the only option for football. There's another group that always complain but buy it anyway because, again, its the only football game available. Then there are the stubborn gamers like me who haven't purchased a football game since NFL 2K5. But sadly, we're in the minority. If the exclusive deal with the NFLPA ever runs out people will see just how disgruntled the fan base really is.

shanzor
shanzor

Well, I'm kinda of happy to see this happen because I really don't like the Madden franchise. They spit out the same stuff every year. People keep buying it and that's why it sells at full price every year. Sad really... @favre4thewin That law suit outlined that the cups didn't have warning labels on them warning about hot contents so it was a legitimate suit.

neil4688
neil4688

EA Sports Madden football has been terrible the past few years. Lazy people working on the games.

xJackelx
xJackelx

favre4thewin You could simply stop playing them.

ahpuck
ahpuck

people complain about EA and madden all the time. yet, year after year they keep buying it. i don't get it.

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

EA would do everything it could to prevent a cancellation of their exclusive agreement with the NFLPA. They have to know there are throngs of football fans thirsting for an honestly good football game. 2K sports is capable of doing that and would immediately soak up many of those disgruntled fans.

favre4thewin
favre4thewin

Not all Ex-NFLers are super rich. The guys that played when the league was just starting up often had other jobs. EA should pay them royalties the $28M is more or less just a perk to having anyone have to pay in the future to use their intellectual property. Hopefully someone challenges madden and the NFL on the exclusive gaming license. Can I sue them for reproducing the same old crap year after year? I guess I could sue them, its America and you can sue over anything. Probably wouldn't win but you never know. People won cases over coffee being hot.

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

@MattieIce The people getting richer here aren't necessarily already rich. Many of the 2,000 former players in the suit put on the pads long before lucrative contracts were the norm in professional sports. Plus the NFLPA has a terrible history of neglecting retired players.

sportwarrior
sportwarrior

If only they'd taken this one step further and decried the NFLPA wasn't representing its members' best interests by limiting its licensing agreement to one publisher. I'm dying to have a real NFL 2K game back in my hands.

nemt
nemt

So are we getting NFL 2K10 or no?

Dreski83
Dreski83

well then... EA and Madden had their way with NFL properties and made their yearly lump sum as always. now, after court shenanigans... 2,000 players supposedly splits 28.1 mill which would be around 14k per player. I sure could use a decent check like that right now :?