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Packer Legend wins 4th Superbowl - in court

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Packer Legend wins 4th Superbowl - in court

According to the AP, a federal jury ordered the NFL Players Association to pay $28.1 million to retired players after finding the union failed to properly market their images. The suit was brought by Packer Legend & Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley on behalf of 2,056 retired players who contend the union failed to actively pursue marketing deals on their behalf with video games, trading cards and others sports products.

Adderley, 69, played cornerback for the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys and appeared in four of the first six Super Bowls. He appeared every day in court wearing his yellow "NFL Alumni" sports jacket and wept when the jury's verdict was read.

"I won three Super Bowls and this feels better than all of them combined," Adderley said immediately after the verdict was announced. "I always felt I had one big play left."

"We felt we had to send a message that the union needs to represent and protect all its members," said Susan Smith, part of the 10-person jury that voted unanimously in favor of the retirees. "We felt the players' union didn't do that."

I first read about the case in early May of this year when the judge allowed it to go forward and reported on an AP update in October at the fan forum. Shame on the players union for not representing ALL of it's members. Oh wait did I say protect it's members? I meant executives protecting themselves -

Lawyers representing Adderley and the retired players told the jury during the three-week trial that the union actively sought to cut them out of licensing deals so active players could receive bigger royalty payments. As proof, the retirees pointed to a 2001 letter from an NFLPA executive telling Electronic Arts Inc. executives to scramble the images of retired players in the company's popular Madden video game, otherwise the company would have to pay them.

EA's Madden game contains 143 "vintage" teams populated with no-name players that closely resemble Adderley and other retirees. Yet only active players received a cut of the EA deal, the union's largest, which surpassed $35 million for 2008.

So instead of doing your duty to NFL History as a 59% of the total revenue gatekeeper - you..Mr./Mrs. (put name of NFLUPA Executive of your choice) decide it is more important to hold the line on precedent (whilst taking a nice cut) and forego such unreasonable long term strategic goals as educating a new generational class on the breadth and sweat and history of the sport...not to mention an untapped resource in the marketing potential of older players who helped establish the modern era's success. It's the shortsightedness of it that makes me sick. The NFL will only survive if it remembers it's history, always - the more that is taken for granted and greed is allowed to drive the train - the more it squanders the opportunity to be sustainable. It is no coincidence that it was a Packer (and Dallas) Legend who had to lead the charge to shock the sytem. Kudos to Herb Adderley and all of the men of the "vintage" NFL who made the current NFL what it is today.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (6) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

packeraaron's picture

Damn fine post Corey.

Ron La Canne's picture

Thanks for the update on this Aaron. Corey thanks! I'm probably prejudice in this mater, but I find it hypocritical for today's superstar babies and their agents to get the benefits of a league that was built in the fifties and sixties without some reciprocation. They owe those guys for what they have done.

It really started with Alan Ameche's 1 yard televised run against the Giants and the appointment of Pete Rossle as comissioner of the NFL. The GB franchise was saved by Lombardi being in GB at the time Rossele was promoting TV as the focus of the NFL. In 1954 GB was told to build a new stadium or lose the team to Milwaukee. The stadium alone did not make GB a viable franchise. It was Rossele, TV, and revenue sharing that made that happen. And most of all the players who played with little or no security for the love of the game.

We forget that the greats of that era like Adderly, Taylor, Kremmer, Star, Robinson, Hornung and all the others needed full time employment in the off-season to support their families. When they retired they had to live their lives with broken bodies and no help from the NFLPA. This is Mike Ditka's crusade now. The new director of the NFLPA needs to deal with these issues as his highest priority.

They (the veteran players) gave us this game. The players of today who make millions owe something to them.

packeraaron's picture

Ron, have you read The Birth of the New NFL? It was written by an old Buffalo Bills beat writer and is fantastic.

cheese5's picture

Ron- nice points- what really bothers me is that a little kid is playing "vintage" when he could have the opportunity to learn about the older players through the game.

I know people are going to say - "it's just a video game" but it's not- it's a MAJOR medium (bigger in some ways than TV or internet) for the youth of this country.

Andrew in Atlanta's picture

Excellent post Corey and great comments Ron

Mr.Man's picture

Completely agree. Why wouldn't the union seek some additional compensation on behalf of the retired players? What a great way to show them some appreciation, especially when everyone knows that many of these players are in terrible health due to their years of playing such a violent game. The fact that the union has no interest in taking care of their retirees is despicable.

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