Cleveland Browns fan's suit against EA soon over

Lawyer for "Big Dawg" tells local paper that litigation over Madden NFL 09 appearance will be resolved, dismissed in coming weeks.

157 Comments

Last month, Electronic Arts won the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against it by legendary Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown. This month, the publisher appears to be on the verge of putting another Browns-related bit of litigation behind it, as the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that a suit brought against EA by Browns superfan John Big Dawg Thompson is on the verge of resolution.

Terms were not disclosed, but court observers expect it to be at least seven figures of Kibbles & Bits.
Terms were not disclosed, but court observers expect it to be at least seven figures of Kibbles & Bits.

The paper cites Thompson's lawyer as saying the case will be dismissed within weeks. While the terms of the dismissal are confidential, Thompson's lawyer said his client was happy to have the case behind him.

Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural Hall of Fans class in 1999, the Big Dawg character sports a bug-eyed dogface mask, orange hardhat, oversize dog bone, and a Browns jersey with the number "98." A similarly outfitted fan wearing a "92" jersey can be seen in Madden NFL 09 in the same section of the Cleveland Browns stadium where Thompson appears during the team's home games.

In the original suit, Thompson had been seeking damages in excess of $25,000 and that EA be prevented from selling the game or using the Big Dawg persona without permission in the future.

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Entropolous

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In the Cleveland area, this man has built a level of celebrity. His image HAS a marketable value. As ridiculous as it sounds, I could see him being paid by Cleveland area businesses to appear a local television ads. That being the case he has every right to sue EA for using his image with out his permission. The best analogy to this I can think of is if EA put likenesses of Jack Nicholson or Spike Lee court side in LA and NY for their NBA game without seeking their permission.

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tyco_ex

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Wow this is ridiculous lol. People will do anything for a buck. I agree that Dawg should be removed from the hall of fame for doing crap like this. @biosciguy "EA should just remove the Browns from the game. They suck anyways" Lmao, so true.

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holtrocks

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lol ya LosDaddie i would be very happy if i was playing and i saw my self

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GNWPCD

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Browns are so bad that its players and fans now need EA to help support them through these rough times.

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biosciguy

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EA should just remove the Browns from the game. They suck anyways

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LosDaddie

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Dumb lawsuit, IMO. The fan should've been happy he made it in the game.

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djibril26

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nice way to earn money.......... I'll play again madden just to see it

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Zerosumgame

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the lawsuit inferior culture.

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stziggy

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I hate EA, but this isn't fair. Ultimately you and I the gamer will lose out because a bit of reality in our sports games will disappear thanks to "Big Dawg's" greed. Big Dawg should be removed from the Hall of Fans because he just hurt the fans.

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bluntguys

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wow thats just sad

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GCwasthebestsys

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i think you are forgetting that this is america, land of frivolous lawsuits. wouldn't doubt if they settled around 25K

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blakeney

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lol how does his likness or even an exact replica of him being used in the game effect him to the sum of $25,000???? or even $25!? ok maby $25 to cover the "92" he will have to get so he REALLY looks like the guy from the game lol!

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guitarist1980

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I wouldnt have sued, i would have been honored to be included. But my lawyer probably would talk me into sueing so he could get his 25-33%. This guy is just average joe who either got talked into sueing or decided he could make some money. Im a patriots fan hahahaha. Cleveland you really really suck and probably will for a long time with mangenius running the show.

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RetroRPGamer

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I don't even care about football, i thought it was about "Family Guy" or "The Cleveland Show". The only reason why i though it was Cleveland from that show because it said "Cleveland Brown" i though it was a dead giveaway right there. I was disappointed for this to be about some Football crap. There is enough weird events going on with sports right now that i don't seem to care about It seems this guy has a right to sue EA though.

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northArrow

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What "Big Dawg" really should do is sue the Cleveland Browns. They suck so much he deserves the cost of his season tickets back.

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Kevu

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I also have to agree that this sounds reasonable. If the guy put in enough time over the years for the Madden games to even make a "similarly outfitted fan" in the same spot with just a different number on...come ON. EA should totally toss the dude cash. Or at least admit they ripped him off but are big enough weasels that they can get through the legal loopholes to digitize anything they damn well please. I'm hopin for cash for dude.

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ACMC85

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dkidfrmdbx Well said. I believe EA would sue for the same thing in a reverse position. Also, why is it taboo to wear the bands t-shirt at their concert, but not when you wear a team's t-shirt at their game? Its absolutely the same thing.

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MadGamer132

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i know, if you sue ea why they always say its all about the money.

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dkidfrmdbx

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i think he has the right to get paid, i rmeber watching MTV the other day and stumbled upon a episode in which a girl was major NY Giants fan. She would take pictures with the Giants jerseys on and some people would pay money to get exclusive pictures. The NFL sued her for 25,000 even though, she obviously didnt malicioulsy use the jersey, she was just a big fan. They were entitled to their 25,000 because she used the jersey and made a few bucks, if the NFL could sue because of their jersey being used in the picture, why cant this guy sue for his 25,000 because he did something unique and EA decided to use it? I mean id be very happy to be included in a video game, but fair is fair, and if companies can sue people for little things, then people should be able to do the same thing, and come on 25,000, thats not a lot compared to some of the astronomical lawsuits ask for.

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george999819

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Wow. When I read the title of the article, I thought it was about Cleveland Brown from "Family Guy" and "The Cleveland Show".

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sleepnsurf

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I bet he is just pissed as the browns fans have nothing to look forward to for a WHILE!

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thedemon44

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He wants money its that simple... and EA is most likly giving him enough cash to make him happy. So its all good. He deserves something if he has a strong enough presence to end up in the game.

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LT_BLANCO

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thas dumb if hes such a super fam he would be honnerd to apper ina game with his fav football ide love to be in a mlb 2k game/ yankee stadium dam iam sleppy

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Peabody99224

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@jadefury27 I thought the exact same thing! I think the cold medicine is getting to me.

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redmachine

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one of the head guys at EA a couple months ago was saying he's worried about the state of hte franchise, because they didn't make the exact same insane profits from last year. So now he's nervous, even though they made countless of millions this year. That kind of selfishness needs to be sued..

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jefferson1964

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wonder how much of the game he sees while wearing that mask...

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jadefury27

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Wow i'm tired lol! I saw the title of the articl and thought they were talking about the family guy spin-off! lol!

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ScionofEntropy

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Does anyone else picture TongLong's ranting actually coming from the mouth of the guy in his avatar? I find myself unable to picture it any other way.

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CARTchamp

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@G_Riggons You would be wrong, I have had the same favorite team since i was 5 years old. You guys cried about losing your team but in fact it was the people of cleveland voting not to give Art a new stadium that caused the team to leave in the first place and then just a few years later, what do ya know a brand new stadium. How about that every Browns fan I know ( I live in ohio so there are a lot of them) has been crying for 2 yers about Brady not starting, yeah thats the teams problem.

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LqdSnk

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If it was important enough for them to put a character similar to his, then they should have just paid the guy in the first place.

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rado1

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Dawiggy7- Yes the "Browns" left and became the Ravens, but the name and the records of the original "Browns" team stayed in Cleveland. The Ravens history started when they moved to Baltimore. The city of Cleveland made sure of that.On November 6, 1995, then Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intention to move the team to Baltimore, citing the inadequacy of Cleveland Stadium and the lack of a sufficient replacement along with his heavy debt. The decision triggered a flurry of legal activity that ended when representatives of Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement on February 8, 1996. It stipulated that the Browns' name, colors, and history of the franchise were to remain in Cleveland, including past records and the attribution of its Pro Football Hall of Fame players. A reactivated Cleveland Browns team would then begin play in 1999, while Modell's relocated club would technically and legally be a "new franchise," and an expansion team, the Ravens.[1]

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clue942

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he has a point for suing, I'd probably sue also. How would you feel if you were in a girls gone wild video without your permission, that could ruin your career professionally in some circles. Granted one is more extreme than the other situation but its all the same thing...

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elnoramarie

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he has every right to sue EA. just because he's a fan doesn't mean he should just keep quiet and be happy about this situation. even if he is just doing it for the money (which i doubt because $25,000 really isn't that much to a company like EA), he still has a valid point -- EA has no right to use his likeness without permission

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UneasyLee

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To be fair, he only originally wanted $25,000 so he's not looking to go live it up on Easy Street from now on. He mostly didn't want his likeness used without it being ok, just like any recognizable figure. If EA used a similar looking stadium or coach and called them by a different name they'd be paying alot more. Plus, you can say "Who cares," but thats basically trying to tell an individual that their likeness isn't important enough...and he's probably been to more home games than most of the current players on the team. I say good for him, EA could have easily not put him in there, but they went out of there way to do it without asking.

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Ryder250

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LOL I also though it was Cleveland from Family guy!

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jshaas

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This guy probably didn't come up with this on his own. As many of you have said... he's a huge fan, and should be stoked just be in the game. I'm sure he's very happy to represented in Madden... I know I would be! But, one of his friends probably gave him the idea that he should be paid by EA for his representation in the game. I can't really blame him for that either. It works that way for the cover athletes. That's why EA changed the number on the jersey from 98 to 92... they know they should be paying this guy so by changing the number EA can say "It's not the same guy." Sure this guy isn't as high on the totem pole as an NFL superstar, but he won't get paid what they get paid either.

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Redemption121

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Anyone else think that they meant the black guy from Family guy from the title?

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Rikuide_Furame

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It's not quite as simple as that Hobo. Yes, he has a chance at "free" money but should he lose the case, he'll no doubt have legal fees to pay meaning he'll have lost money.

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hobobobo00

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to all you guys who think the person who brought the lawsuit is stupid, you have to consider something first just like almost every civil lawsuit like this, the guy is suing not because he actually feels EA games violated his rights, he is suing because he wants MONEYSSSS$$$. that isn't stupid, i mean who doesnt take free money?

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Hoski0999

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he has become a public figure and so the court should put the NY times vs Sullivan test on this man, and guess what? the whole thing would be over. This is not an attack at you guys i promise lol but seriously if you dont know what i'm talkin about do a lil research and you'll see, its funny what i actually listen to in school :)

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TongLong

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I'm no fan of EA, not by a long shot (don't even get me started), but when you go to an internationally televised sporting event dressed as a droopy dog in an orange hat year after year, chances are, you're looking for attention. In this dude's case, mission accomplished. Droopy's presence in the Madden games likely adds an air of authenticity to the game for NFL fans, and will likely gain this joker far more recognition than simply appearing on TV alone. As a so called "super fan", I'd think someone would be stoked to be recognized and added to something like a video game, especially one that is so well received by so many NFL fans (even if it IS the only option for NFL fans whether they like it or not). My question is, is this dude a paid mascot character? Is his ridiculous outfit trademarked? If not, don't stick your paw out looking for a handout "just because". Dressing up as a dog at a football game doesn't entitle you to monetary compensation, it DOES show your commitment and loyalty as a fan to your team. Enjoy the nod from EA, and leave it at that!

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tomservo51

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I only like the suit because it's against EA, you know EA would sue if the shoe were on the other foot.

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ZONABOY_928

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Wow what people will do for a buck these days... if anything he should feel honored if he was that much of a Browns fan.

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dawiggy7

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@nofo04 Just letting you know, the Browns franchise of today has only existed the last 15 years or so. The Browns you are counting is mainly the Ravens, since the "Browns" moved to Baltimore about 15 years or so ago. OT: I think he has all the right to money, if EA didn't get his permission to use his likeness in their game that is all their fault. All of you who are saying "He's suing for something stupid," and stuff like that, this is different than suing Mcdonalds or something because you got fat. EA could of asked him for his permission and paid maybe a couple thousand dollars instead of the million or so he will supposedly make from this lawsuit.

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TongLong

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That's SOOOO LAME! Get over yourself, buddy, you made it into a game for being some fat-ass in a ridiculous costume at football games, it's obviously the biggest accomplishment of your life. Why is everyone so quick to sue at the drop of a hat, doesn't anyone have any dignity anymore?

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Scythes777

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I didnt even know about this lawsuit, but its not making this horrible depressing city look any better...So I actually support EA on this one

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cutmaclass1

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Fun Fact: Cleveland's economy is based on LeBron james and its main export is crippling depression.

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bibliomaniac15

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"Beverly Hills 91210, Cleveland Browns 3." --Colin Mochrie, Whose Line is it Anyway?

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ScionofEntropy

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I'm inclined to give EA the benefit of the doubt here, but they probably should have known better.

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ljandrews

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i get the feeling most of the ppl that made comments are not football fans, i live in chicago, am a bears fan and i know about big dawg. the man is in the hall of fame, ea put him in the game because he is to cleveland what the lambeau leap is to green bay. no matter how bad the browns do, he's there. thats a real fan. ea used his created character, they must face consequences.

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