Retired NFL Players Seeking to Join EA Lawsuit (Video)

September 29, 2009

Two retired NFL players, Hall of Famers Herb Adderley and Jim Brown, are seeking to join a lawsuit against video game maker EA, filed by Sam Keller, formerly a quarterback for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Keep reading for more details on the ongoing case.


The two players seek to file a “friend of the court” brief in support of the lawsuit filed against EA (Electronic Arts) by a the former Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback. In the lawsuit, Sam Keller alleges that EA and the NCAA used the images of collegiate football players without permission in NCAA Football and NCAA Basketball video games. A preview for one of these games (EA Sports NCAA Football 08) can be seen below.

SF Weekly quotes from the lawsuit that states it…

“…arises out of the blatant and unlawful use of National Collegiate Athletic Association (‘NCAA’) student likenesses in video games produced by Electronic Arts … to increase sales and profits.” This, the complaint continues, is abetted with a wink-and-nod assist from the NCAA, which “intentionally circumvents the prohibitions on utilizing student athletes’ names in commercial ventures by allowing gamers to upload entire rosters, which include players’ names and other information, directly into the game in a matter of seconds.”

Herb Adderley, a former Green Bay Packer cornerback, settled a lawsuit on behalf of hundreds of NFL retirees that involved EA in with the jury found that EA and the players union had used the retired NFL players’ images without compensation.

Jim Brown filed a lawsuit which was dismissed by a federal district court in Los Angeles. His lawsuit was against EA for using his image in their Madden NFL series. The judge, Florence Marie-Cooper ruled that such video games are “expressive works, akin to an expressive painting that depicts celebrity athletes of past and present in a realistic sporting environment” and therefore are covered under the First Amendment.

That is the latest news on the lawsuit involving the former Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback and the EA and NCAA, now possibly to be joined via “friend of the court” brief by two retired NFL Players and Hall of Famers, themselves now veterans of such cases.


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