A fumble for NFL Players Assn. and SAG's Allen
If Screen Actors Guild Executive Director Doug Allen entertained any thoughts of returning to the NFL Players Assn., those were probably dampened Monday.
A federal jury in San Francisco ordered the NFL Players Assn. to pay $28.1 million in damages to retired players after determining that the union had ignored contracts covering reimbursement for use of their images in such things as video games and sports trading cards.
Allen, who was the assistant executive director of the NFL Players Assn. before joining SAG nearly two years ago, is not named in the lawsuit. But the case centers on an organization that he was intimately connected with. Allen helped launch a licensing and merchandising corporation called Players Inc. for which his wife, Pat, was formerly chief operating officer. Allen was a key witness in the trial, spending more than two days giving testimony.
Although Players Inc. generated generated millions of dollars for the union, many retired players complained that it deprived them of royalties from video games, trading cards and other sports products.
The union's attorneys argued that retired players weren't marketable and licensees like Electronic Arts were only interested in buying the rights of active players, a claim supported by Allen's testimony. Ultimately, however, jurors didn't buy it.
The NFL Players Assn. said it would file an appeal if the trial judge upholds the verdict.
-- Richard Verrier