Madden suit sacks players union

Jury determines pro-footballer organization wasn't acting in members' best interests when licensing game liknesses, awards plaintiffs $28.1 million.

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A jury yesterday sided with a group of retired NFL players in a multimillion dollar class-action suit against their own union, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

As reported in September, the former players alleged that the NFL Players Association gave Electronic Arts preferential treatment in negotiations for the licensing rights of retired players. The $200,000-per-year cost of licensing for Hall of Fame players was said to be "millions below market prices," and a key factor in Take-Two Interactive's decision to abandon its competing (and not licensed by the NFL) All-Pro Football franchise.

A group of more than 2,000 retired players will now get to see some of those millions, as the jury awarded the class a $28.1 million judgment after determining the union had violated revenue-sharing agreements with them in licensing video games and other memorabilia. 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.

According to the paper, a lawyer with the union asked for minimal damages because the full judgment would impact the NFLPA's ability to properly represent players.

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