Darrell Thompson stands up for former players


Darrell Thompson's class action suit accuses the league of using the images of former players, but doesn't distribute revenue from use of those images to retired players. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Do you Packers fans remember Darrell Thompson? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.
He was a first round draft choice out of the University of Minnesota in 1990 … One of those leftover picks by Lindy Infante who hung around for a couple of years as Mike Holmgren was building his championship team.
One of the highlights of his that sticks out in my mind was from a game at Lambeau after he scored a touchdown … It’s not the nature of the touchdown that I remember, it was Brett Favre running into the end zone and tackling him in celebration … Youve seen the clip on NFL highlight films … Now maybe you remember.
Anyway, the reason I raise his name is because he has taken a big step for his NFL alumni. Late this past week as everyone was getting pumped about the players association and owners nearing a deal for a new CBA, Thompson made some news of his own – he filed a class action suit in federal court in Minneapolis citing the league for benefitting off of the images of former players through the use of various marketing efforts. In other words, the league continues to make huge sums of money from the images of former players and doesn’t compensate accordingly, Thompson alleges.
A report about Thompson’s filing by Reuters quoted from the complaint: “For years, Defendant (the NFL) has earned substantial revenue by making promotional films and selling products featuring the identities of retired NFL football players. The retired players who created (the NFL’s) glory days, however, have gone almost completely uncompensated for this use of their identities.”
Thomson’s suit comes on the heels of another suit filed by a group of former players that claim the league and NFL Players Association “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former NFL players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current NFL players.”
The benefits to be paid to retired players is tied in with the sticking points that seem to be holding up completion of the new CBA.
it only seems fair and right, at least from the perspective of this lowly writer, that the former players, the ones upon whose shoulders the current players and owners ride, should receive agreeable compensation. These are the men who built the league into the behemoth it has become. These are the players we remember when we cite the “good old days.”
It’s clear the league must take care of it’s current and future players, but they must also not forget about the players who made the league into probably the most popular sporting entity of all time.
Pay the men their due.

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