Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

April 19, 2009 -

His days of calling NFL games on T.V. may be done, but John Madden's just-announced retirement might not be as idyllic as he had hoped.

According to a report on the blog of former Oakland Raiders lineman Dave Pear, NFL retirees are planning to sue both Madden and Electronic Arts, publisher of the best-selling pro football game which bears the former coach's name.

GamePolitics readers may recall that retired players won a staggering $28 million verdict against the National Football League Players Association last fall when evidence showed that the union suggested to EA that identities of retired players on historical teams be "scrambled" to avoid paying them royalties. E-mails revealed in the trial also showed that the NFLPA acted to block Take-Two Interactive from acquiring rights to former NFL players, thus preserving EA's monopoly position with regard to pro football games.

But militant NFL retiree Bernie Parrish, who was deeply involved in last year's win against the NFLPA, writes that EA and Madden himself are squarely in the players' legal sights:

The retired NFL players who were used in Madden EA video games will be suing Madden and EA for using us in those games without compensating us. Madden’s agent Sandy Montag boasts he and Madden collected over $100,000,000 in royalties while paying the retired NFL players used in those games absolutely nothing. Madden knows that the ugly truthful litigation is coming and is probably factoring that into his retirement. I doubt he wants to answer all those fans who will be asking, “Why, John Madden? Why did you screw all those retired players over, you seemed like such a friendly, good-natured buffoon?”...

No deals are going to be made because John Madden is moving his act to his home office where he will continue to screw over the retired players without having to face the fans around the country. Madden and Montag plan to continue licensing Madden without compensating retired players...


Comments

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

It is a bit annoying how many sport games require real players names just so the fans can play as their heros in the football field. Yet the players think that the Videogame Company owes them something in return.

If this keeps on happening in many sport games, then there would never be any more realistic sport games around for the fear of having to pay millions for each player that is in the game.

Plus EA tries to make their sport games as realistic and fun as possible, I feel sorry for those people who work hard at making realistic sport games only having to be targeted by the real players.

 

Plus even with retired players, like many older sport fans who also play Videogames always want to play as their heros from the past.

 

All this legal stuff just ruins the fun of the game.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

As for current players (speaking only of football, I don't know about other sports), the NFLPA is the players' union for current players, and all EA has to do is make one agreement with them (though I would imagine it actually includes royalties of some sort).  So no probs there, the problem lies with the fact that retired players aren't a part of the NFL, nor are they part of the NFLPA, yet they are in the game.

To be honest, I don't see the problem with them wanting compensation, I mean why should EA get to make money off them without them getting a share, especially since EA and NFL have shown that they recognized this issue and specifically made efforts to go arround it, arguably dishonest efforts.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Add my voice to those wondering why he is planning to sue Madden himself. The blog post was rather vague.

"Madden collected over $100,000,000 in royalties while paying the retired NFL players used in those games absolutely nothing."

Huh? So what? Madden isn't the guy who should be paying the retired players. He's not the guy using their images. So why in the world would he be required to pay?

 

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Duh. He has money. Nobody ever sues the poor, even if they're a legitimate target under the law. Money, money, money. It's never about anything else but money, regardless of anything people spout off to justify their actions in taking people to court.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I understand greed, but it still seems a bit reckless. EA has plenty of money, and might actually be a legitimate target. A whole bunch of money could potentially be made by just suing EA.

But... assuming there is no good reason to sue Madden that I am unaware of, adding him to the lawsuit could backfire. And if they sue advertisers as well, without any good reason, it could be even worse. It could paint the whole lawsuit in a bad light, and reduce the chances of a verdict in their favor even regarding just EA.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

people don't know the mental effects that accompany the injuries that occur in professional football. there have been documented cases where players who received multiple concussions through out their career end up with severe depression and take their lives.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Haha, I was just watching Not Another Teen Movie and remember the fat football guy being told that if he gets 5 more concussions then he'll die. I thought it was pretty funny. But not the depression that happens in real life, that part sucks.

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Players have a right to be compensated for the use of their name and likeness, but they shouldn't have the right to sue for not being paid when neither their name nor likeness are being employed. That certain similarities may exist between the real and fictional players should not be enough to establish a claim of infringement.

If such decisions are allowed to stand, I fear for the future of unlicensed games that rely on fictional teams named after real states (e.g. "Chicago" instead of "Chicago Bears"). I'm sure you can always find similarities between real and fictional teams, even when it's just coincidence.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

"That certain similarities may exist between the real and fictional players should not be enough to establish a claim of infringement."

That direct copies of real players were made with their faces and names changed, yet stats identical, is however judged by them to be enough to establish a claim of infringement. Mind you that they scrambled their faces and names so they didn't have to pay them, while they did pay the players that hadn't retired. The information discovered included brags about that.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Pretty much, it's hard to say the quarter back of the historical team "84 Dolphins" is a fictional character when the player is VERY well documented, and has stats along the lines of great passing abilities with low mobility and great awareness etc. (Dan Marino).  Just because EA decides to call this character QB  #9 (instead of 13) and in one version I think even made this person black (Marino is white) doesn't mean that it's a fictional character, nor should be considered one.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I'm confused as to they're official reason for why they're suing Madden.

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Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Probably: He knew what was going on and kept quiet, while it's pretty clear it's wrong and screws over the retired players.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I *personally* don't think that stands up enough in court, and think a better plan of action would have been to try and get Madden on their side AGAINST EA.

And also, the T2 thing was bullshit, in my opinion.

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Oh sure, EA is evil but when they're risking a beating for the way they monopolized the NFL games, suddenly the retirees are the bad guys? Seriously, people, what the hell.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

God forbid they actually do something worthwile to society and get a real job. Pro sports is not one.

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

How is being a professional athlete not a real job?

----------------------------------------------------

Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

---------------------------------------------------- Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it's over they have the same positions they started in.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

In the case of the NFL, you only work at least 16 days a year (since the pre-season doesn't count), and retire earlier than regular people. Real people work over 300 days a year.

When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Either he's trolling (which I give a 2 out of 10 for on the attempt, but a 7 out of 10 on the results) or he's utterly clueless or he was frequently beat up and shoved into lockers by the jocks in high school.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

are you really serious?

While I think they get overpaid (the big stars at least), it's a career that won't last more than 4 years (on average), has no job security, huge risk of crippling injury, even if you manage to make it through a career without being crippled, you usually have far more constant nagging health issues than average citizens, even a lower life expectancy.  Not to mention HUGE barriers to entry.  Their job is likely far harder than the average person, especially when you accont for all this.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

So teaching isn't a real job either?

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

As what does training count? Or is it irrelevant?

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

What about training?  I am not a football fan and am not here to argue if they are or are not being overpaid but to say they only work 16 days is an extreme exaggeration.  It is not as though they can just do nothing for the rest of the year, and then get up and play the game.  A lot of training is involved.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I definitely don't see how Madden fits in. I imagine that he's largely uninvolved in the decision making process, and merely collects a check for his name and announcing work. So this act seems to me like the retired players are now out for blood.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

They're only suing because they know their money will run out eventually and they'll be forced to get a real job.

When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Most of the guys who are suing either have "real jobs" now or are fullly retired.  Why?  Because they didn't make millions of dollars playing football back in the 50s and 60s.  Heck, most of those guys didn't even make TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars.  The big contracts really didn't start until the 90s when the current labor contract with the NFLPA started.

I don't think they should be suing Madden himself.  He's not the one running the show at EA.

EA, on the other hand, has made themselves fair game and purposefully cheated these guys out of money.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

That move against Take Two is just sleazy and deserves legal action. If a retired player wishes to allow Take Two to add their name and likeness to a game to Take Two can get back into the football gamem arket, that's their right.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Parrish has no case against Madden. The deal between EA and Madden is independent of the deal between the NFLPA, NFL and EA. He might as well start suing other companies the league has deals with, such as Starter, Coke and Gatorade.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Actually, from reading over his blog post a bit more, it sounds like he plans to.

"And no deals are going to be made because John Madden is moving his act to his home office where he will continue to screw over the retired players without having to face the fans around the country. Madden and Montag plan to continue licensing Madden without compensating retired players, only advertisers may not find the “dog food” quite so tasty once the suit is filed because those advertisers will probably be included in the suit."

I'm not sure exactly what advertisers he's refering to, as his blog post refers to a lot of details I'm not really familar with, and apart from that seems a bit rambling and disorganized.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Agreed, I am all for them sueing EA still though.

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Well, it's kind of a bitter-sweet attack, though. Kinda like the Nazi's bombing Stalingrad.

While you technically feel little sympathy for the victim, the true enemy is clear, and calls for an alliance.

I'm not happy with EA myself, but in this, they're clearly being wrongfully attacked. So I have to side with them on this.

From swirlies and wedgies in high school, to huge multi-million dollar lawsuits, the jocks just can't stop bullying the geeks. The circle of life.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I get that they're suing EA, but why sue Mr.Madden himself?

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

There are more implications in this case and I think your notion makes sense. As a personal injury lawyer, I have handled similar cases before and let me tell you it would be a good case as well.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Several reasons pop to mind: Madden's name is on the box, and hopefully to turn Madden against EA to pressure them to pay up.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

It's called "Greed." These are guys who never worked a day in their life, and get paid millions of dollars a year to, get this, PLAY GAMES! Now, after a several million dollar contract, they don't feel this is enough. So, let's sue for 28 million! DONE! That worked so well, let's do it again! SUE! This is fun! Why stop?!

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Except that these players aren't the ones who received the million-dollar contracts. I have no player list as proof, but I'm willing to bet the vast majority of the ex-players making up this pool of plaintiffs played in the '50s and '60s, a time when there was minimal merchandising and no national TV contracts to fill the coffers from which to pay the players.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Okey, so the retirees won their $28 million the first time for getting ****ed over. Was that ammount not enough to go around? Are they planning on setting their sights higher after they finish up this attempt?

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

To be honest, 28 million spread amongst all the retirees represented in the games doesn't sound like that much. We're talking about I'm guessing 30-60 players per team (teams have grown since the NFL started), and I'm guessing an average of 6 historical teams per  current team, per year BTW (idk when Madden started doing historical teams, but they've been there ever since).  So if they are spreading it out amongst all the retirees represented in the games, I'm imagining that it's not that much, esspecially as compared to the huge amount of money Madden (the series, not the man) has earned for EA and Madden himself.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Agreed that it's probably a drop in bucket for the company. I would hate to see the math involved spliting all that money up. I mean do they do it straight up so everyone has a more or less even percentage or do some get more than others? Why is he getting more than me? Because he played better than you duh. That's not very fair! *squabble squabble* And then there's the fact that these people are in fact retirees who should have moved on in this point right? I agree that extra money is always a good thing but didn't this start out as a way to discourage such douch-baggery from happen again? Where is the point where it's no longer about getting their monetary due but trying milk this mistake for all it's worth?

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

There's a lot of former players, especially the realy old ones that didn't get paid much that might "need" this money.  They often end up half crippled without retirement, and yet without that much money, and nothing but their (in some cases little) fame to carry them the rest of their life (obviously, they could make money other ways, but you know what I mean, besides, many of em aren't that bright).  Also, there's the logic of, these guys are making money because of my efforts, I should get some concept.  And yes of course, the "ooh easy money" thinking, and I'd imagine it's a combination of all of the above, and maybe more.

Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

I just want a new NFL Blitz (liked it in the arcade so much more than madden...)

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Bitchin' way to spend a quarter.

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Re: Report: Retired NFL Players Plan to Sue EA, Madden

Somehow, i kind of doubt it was Madden himself who did the screwing.

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MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
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DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
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Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
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Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
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Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
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