Back in March, a group of former NFL players successfully challenged the NFL and received a $42 million dollar settlement for using their images without their consent.  The NFL even pledged to commit to a "common good" fund and a licensing agency for former players.  Now another group of former players is suing NFL Films for similar reasons after seeing their faces on NFL Network, opting out of the original settlement according to PFT:

A total of ten former players have sued the league’s in-house movie-making arm for the allegedly uncompensated use of images in NFL Films products. They each have decided to “opt out” of a settlement reached in litigation originally filed by Fred Dryer.

The plaintiffs are Culp, John Riggins, Ron Yary, Dave Casper, Tom Mack, Phil Villapiano, Willie Buchanon, Joe Kapp, Mike Bass, and Roman Gabriel. Each man originally supported the Dryer case until learning of the details of the settlement.

“Less than half of the NFL players played long enough to vest, typically forced from the game because of injury,” Culp said. “If we are successful in this case, many of these players will finally see some financial benefit in their retirement.”  

I'm no legal expert, but this story seems somewhat reminiscent of the current Ed O'Bannon lawsuit against the NCAA.  That institution has long come under pressure for profiting off the likeness and image of its athletes.  Of course, the NFL pays for working in the league, but many retired players are hoping to continue to receive compensation for the league continuing to use their image.  Furthermore, the NFL has come under pressure for not doing enough for many retired players that are suffering from injuries and finding life difficult in their advanced age.  This could be another way for those players to receive benefits from a league that is now worth billions when they were only making thousands.


About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.