The news here isn't that Jim Brown, a man who certainly knows his rights, is supporting college players suing Electronic Arts over the use of their likenesses. It's how he lost his own claim against the Madden series publisher.
On Wednesday, a federal district court in Los Angeles dismissed Brown's claim against Electronic Arts for the use of his image in its Madden NFL series. Judge Florence Marie-Cooper essentially found that video games are "expressive works, akin to an expressive painting that depicts celebrity athletes of past and present in a realistic sporting environment." Such works are protected by the First Amendment.