NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

October 1, 2008 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported on troubling e-mails between representatives of the NFL players' union (NFLPA) and EA Sports which seemed to indicate that retired NFL players depicted in Madden's classic teams were not well represented by the NFLPA and its licensing arm, Players, Inc (PI).

The e-mails are contained in court documents from Parrish, Adderley, Roberts, et al vs NFLPA, a class action suit scheduled to begin on October 20 in federal court in San Francisco. A reading of the e-mails appears to indicate:

  • some retired players received far less than their market value to appear in Madden
  • some retired players had details such as name and number "scrambled" so they would not be compensated
  • Take-Two's competing football game prospects were damaged by the NFLPA's deal with EA

Before going further, it is important to note a couple of points:

  1. Electronic Arts is not a defendant in the lawsuit, nor is any wrongdoing alleged by EA. The company paid its licensing money to the NFLPA. The plaintiffs, retired NFL players, take issue with the distribution of those funds by the NFLPA.
  2. Madden is not the only licensed product at issue, although it is by far the most lucrative. Others mentioned include such items as Topps football cards. Much of the case, however, revolves around Madden.

To recap the smoking gun e-mails, we'll start with former PI exec LaShun Lawson's e-mail to Madden producer Jeremy Strauser:

For all retired players that are not listed... their identity must be altered so that it cannot be recognized... Hence, any and all players not listed... cannot be represented in Madden 2002 with the number that player actually wore, and must be scrambled.

An e-mail from PI exec Clay Walker touches on how Take-Two lost out in the deal. This would appear to refer to 2K Sports' failed All-Pro Football 2K8:

Take Two... went after retired players to create an “NFL” style video game after we gave the exclusive to EA. I was able to forge this deal with [the Pro Football Hall of Fame] that provides them with $400K per year (which is significantly below market rate) in exchange for the HOF player rights. EA owes me a huge favor because that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there.

GP: We promised the document. Get it here.


Comments

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

"Smoking Gun Document"

Man, that sounds familiar....

Sounds like Jet Turbulence to me   ;)

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

I  hope these guys win.

From the second quoted paragraph, it sounds like the NFL purposely sabatoged 2K's All Star, or what ever that was with the retired players, game just so they could make more money off of Madden.

What freaking jerks.

If there ever was going to be a desire for me to buy a Madden game or even care about Football, this has killed it.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

Least they were honest about the "manufacturer" part.

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

 HELP THE RICH GET RICHER! Those poor dumb jocks need that second mansion!

They can't help their money-grubbing; they're mentally disabled so they can't find work anywhere else. That's why they got into football to begin with, and all that crashing around aimlessly on the field only made it worse. Pity them.

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

So I take it you don't realize that not all retired football players are incredibly wealthy and living like kings?

The stars get the big bucks and the average player gets the average bucks. This is the NFLPA, and PI trying to screw the average player out of their money, so that they stars keep getting the big bucks.

-Gray17

-Gray17

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

So does that mean it is okay for me to make a game or movie with your likeness name and life and professional  history and not pay you a penny for it? That what it sounds like to me.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: NFLPA Madden Lawsuit: We Have the Smoking Gun Document

See, I was going to say, so EA being greedy is better than the football players how?  But you are more right...

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Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
IanCSo im guessing a bunch of edutainment games, which a lot of people elsewhere are going gaga over, dot count as classics? Okay. If you don't mind me, i have a sudden urge to play Putt Putt....04/19/2014 - 6:15am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/18/playstation-99-cent-sale-discounts-tokyo-jungle-super-stardust/ Weekend long PSN flash sale. So much stuff is 99 cents for the rest of the weekend.04/18/2014 - 5:59pm
Adam802http://www.polygon.com/2014/4/18/5627928/newtown-video-game-addiction-forum04/18/2014 - 4:14pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a video talking about why certain games/products/consoles do well, and others do not. he back it up with solid research.04/18/2014 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenI'm not keen on blind links. What is it?04/18/2014 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonthis is worth a whatch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyXcr6sDRtw&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C904/18/2014 - 3:43pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
 

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