The NFLPA has reached a $26.2 million settlement with retired players who had sued the union for failing to include retired players in marketing deals with EA Sports, trading card companies and other licensees. The settlement is close to the $28.1 million verdict a federal jury ordered the union to pay last November and reverses an appeal filed by the NFLPA in February. Herb Adderley filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of 2,056 retired players.
“I’m elated and I’m happy,” said Adderley at a press conference with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and other retired players. “In fact, this is better than running a touchdown back in the Super Bowl. This helps us come together and bury the hatchet and the bitterness that has been there between the current guys and the retired guys.”
“Today Mr. Adderley stands here as a representative of what I hope is a new step to reaffirm that we represent the ‘players’ of the National Football League,” Smith said. “Those who used to play, those who play… from this day forward, one of the things we will be working on is removing the word retired from any group of people who played this game. We will be one team. We will have one locker room. We will speak with one voice.”
Added former player Mark Washington, “I think this is just another indication of the fact that Smith is a doer,” said Washington, head of the Washington, D.C., area’s NFLPA Retired Players Chapter. “Now we are seeing action. It’s great to hear words, but when you see action, you can’t dispute that.”