Why We Oppose the NFL Settlement – Fred Dryer and the original plaintiffs
By Fred Dryer, Elvin Bethea, Dan Pastorini, Jim Marshall, Ed White, & Joe Senser
“Examining NFL Films’ development, history, and operations offers a useful way to consider how the National Football League established and maintains its now profoundly powerful image. NFL Films helped to transform the league from an only moderately popular professional sport into the cultural monolith we know as ‘America’s Game.” – Travis Vogan, Historians, Storytellers, Mythmakers: NFL Films and the Pro Football Experience, 2011
We initiated our case against the NFL four years ago because we believed that, as former professional football players, our publicity rights have been unrecognized and uncompensated. The NFL has grown into America’s largest sports organization significantly because of the way it has utilized film of our on-field performances in NFL Films to make the game #1.
We believe that retired players have a clear case to have our valuable publicity rights recognized and compensated. Other industries like film and music compensate for the ongoing use of publicity rights. We should be paid too.
The NFL’s proposed settlement is, in our view, completely unfair. We are passionate about fighting this deal. We refuse to give up, and here’s why.
What can you expect to receive personally in this deal? Possibly nothing! What do you give up? Your right to get paid for the NFL’s use of your image to promote NFL football – forever! And not only your image, but your name, nickname, appearance, footage and photographs of you, likeness, animation, biography, persona, and voice.
All the money in the settlement goes to third party charities and none of it directly to retired players. Will you get a benefit from those charities? There’s no way you can know.
All you can do is hope. Will you make any money from the Licensing Agency? There’s no way to know that either! You can only hope.
There is one thing we know for sure about this deal: we might get nothing for giving up our rights forever. This deal is not fair to retired players.
We can’t agree with a deal where:
- We give up our rights forever.
- We aren’t guaranteed to receive anything.
- We don’t have any information to know what NFL Films are worth.
We want a fair deal for all retired players. A deal that includes a direct, defined benefit to everyone in the class. A deal with assured benefits, not just hope.
You have the choice to accept the settlement, object to the settlement, or opt out of the settlement. Doing nothing counts as a “yes” vote for the settlement and binds you to its terms if it is approved. If you want to say “no,” there are two choices to tell the NFL and the Court you don’t like the settlement: opt out or object. Get as much information as you can to figure out what is best for you. Read the notice you got in the mail and look at the notice website https://nflretireepublicitysettlement.com/. The notice lays out what you need to do for each option. Find out more about our views at our website www.dryervnfl.com.
If you’re represented by a lawyer in this case, talk to that lawyer. August 30 is the deadline for making your choice.
A handful of people are saying we should just take this deal because we might lose the case if we keep fighting. When did any of us walk off the field just because we might lose? Never! We suggest you be careful about what you read and hear from the people promoting this deal. For us, there is one key question: “On the day the deal is done – and we give up our rights forever – what benefit do we get?” Listen closely to the answers. We have not heard any guarantees. Instead, we have heard that we “might” get insurance or have “potential” for licensing income.
To us, these answers just say “maybe” each player will get something. But there’s no guarantee that any one of us will get a dime from this settlement.
We did not bring and fight this case so that our brothers might give up their rights for nothing! That’s why we will continue to fight this deal.