NFL Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea and five other players have sued the NFL for using their names and images for profit without their permission.
According to the Associated Press, the players filed a class-action lawsuit Aug. 20 in federal district court in Minneapolis. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of exploiting retired players’ identities in films, highlight reels and memorabilia to market the league’s “glory days” without compensating the players.
“It’s really turned into a big property,” said Bob Stein, a lawyer for the players. How much former players are owed is unclear, Stein said. But the lawsuit suggests the amount exceeds $5 million. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello had no comment because the league has not yet reviewed the lawsuit.
The other players listed in the suit are Jim Marshall, Ed White, Joe Senser, Fred Dryer and Dan Pastorini.
Stein, who played in the NFL for seven years, said other retired players approached him when they saw their names and images in NFL Films videos and other material used today by the league.
In June, a group of more than 2,000 retirees won a $26.25 million settlement with the NFL Players Association over the use of their likenesses in video games, trading cards and other sports products.