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S.F. jury awards retired NFL players $28.1 million

November 10, 2008 |  6:50 pm

The NFL Players Assn. was hit for a loss today, one that is a victory for the old-timers -- the players who built the league into what it is today. A federal jury in San Francisco this afternoon ordered the NFLPA to pay $28.1 million to retired players after finding the union failed to properly market their images for video games, trading cards and other products.

A little more than $7 million of that is in actual damages in the civil lawsuit; the rest is punitive.

Former Green Bay Packers cornerback Herb Adderley filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of more than 2,000 retired players who contend the union failed to actively pursue marketing deals on their behalf. Many of these players are still well-known, decades after leaving the game, including William "the Refrigerator" Perry of the Chicago Bears and Adderly himself.

Among the products cited in the class-action lawsuit was EA Sports' Madden NFL, a game series that features more than 100 "vintage" teams populated with nameless players that look a lot like the stars of old. Only active players received a cut of the EA licensing deal, which surpassed $35 million for 2008.

Adderley, 69, reportedly wept when the jury’s verdict was read. Here is the Assocated Press story. We'll have more details later tonight on

-- Debbie Goffa