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

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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