NFL Retirees, Union Finally Settle Madden Licensing Lawsuit

Saying it wanted to patch things up with its increasingly embittered and estranged retirees, the NFL Players' Association dropped its appeal of a multimillion-dollar judgment related to former players' uncompensated appearance in EA's Madden series.

The NFLPA will agree to pay $24 million to the plaintiffs and drop its appeal of the $26 million judgment in their favor. Sounds like a lot, but it computes to roughly $10,000 per player, spread over three years. That's barely enough to pay the fine on a garden-variety late hit in today's game. Still, the retirees made nowhere near the kind of dough today's stars, and even non-stars, pull in, so they're happy. "They got a 10 percent discount and we got our money now," said the retirees' lawyer-mans. "A lot of them are elderly and a lot of them are ill, and for them to get this money is very substantial. To have the full amount years from now would not mean anything."

The players sued the union last year, alleging that it advised Madden publisher Electronic Arts to "scramble" the players' likenesses (numbers, heights, sometimes races, but not stats) in order to use them in historic team rosters without compensation. This may not end the legal maneuverings. Two months ago, an activist former player said the group should consider suing EA for its participation in the shady deal.

N.F.L. Union Reaches Deal With Retired Players [The New York Times]