Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Knocking heads together for NFL settlement

At NFL meetings this week, settlement of a class action lawsuit against the league by retired players was announced along with the creation of a league fund to help former players in need. Jim Brown, who lobbied hard for the deal, was asked incidentally about his opinion of the proposal to ban backs from using their head to smash into defenders. “I didn’t use my head,” Brown said. “I wasn’t putting my head into too much of anything. I don’t think that’s a good idea." The NFL agreed to pay $42 million as part of a settlement with a group of retired players who challenged the league over using their names and images without consent. The league will use the money to fund a trust to help retired players with an array of issues including medical expenses, housing and career transition. The settlement also establishes a licensing agency for retired players to ensure they are compensated for the use of their identities in promotional materials."We look forward to building an unprecedented new relationship with retired players that will benefit everybody, especially those who need extra medical or financial assistance," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement issued by the league. The federal class action lawsuit accused the NFL of blatantly exploiting retired players' identities in films, highlight reels and memorabilia to market the league's "glory days." The so-called Common Good fund will be administered by a group of retired players approved by the court. A licensing agency will for the first time market retired players' publicity rights in conjunction with the NFL, making it easier for retired players to work with potential sponsors and advertisers. A new licensing agency, to be overseen by a board of retired players, will streamline that process for one-stop shopping. The league will also pay another $8 million in assorted costs associated with the settlement, including money needed to help set up the trust and pay attorneys. The settlement still needs court approval. Retired players will have the chance to review the settlement throughout the summer, when final approval is scheduled. See items at http://bit.ly/ZYSmUF and http://on.nfl.com/ZtAHW8