It certainly looks that way. As part of a lawsuit involving retired NFL player rights, a 2007 e-mail from NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) executive Clay Walker to an NFLPA attorney was released. That email reads:
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 of that threat was enough to persuade Take Two to back off its plans, leaving EA as the only professional football videogame manufacturer out there. ...The per player price for most of these guys was tens of thousands of dollars less than what they were guaranteed by Take Two Interactive so it’s a real coup that we were able to pull this off so cheaply. You have to remember that EA’s total cost is only $200,000 per year. We know that Take Two offered six figure deals to several former NFL players so the total cost is millions below market prices...
In effect, the NFLPA turned down a better financial offer from Take-Two to side with their chums at EA (whether for NFL rights or those involving 2K's recent All-Pro Football, it's unclear), and both parties knew they were ripping off retired players in the process. You guys stay classy! $28 Million NFLPA Verdict Reveals Details of EA's Madden Monopoly [GamePolitics]