Earlier this month, Curley Culp made it to the Hall of Fame. He’s now suing NFL Films.
A total of ten former players have sued the league’s in-house movie-making arm for the allegedly uncompensated use of images in NFL Films products. They each have decided to “opt out” of a settlement reached in litigation originally filed by Fred Dryer.
The plaintiffs are Culp, John Riggins, Ron Yary, Dave Casper, Tom Mack, Phil Villapiano, Willie Buchanon, Joe Kapp, Mike Bass, and Roman Gabriel. Each man originally supported the Dryer case until learning of the details of the settlement.
“Less than half of the NFL players played long enough to vest, typically forced from the game because of injury,” Culp said. “If we are successful in this case, many of these players will finally see some financial benefit in their retirement.”
“This situation is particularly galling for the retired NFL player who never made more than $20,000 a year, now counting his pennies to pay for his medication, while his image is on the TV screen, promoting a $10 billion organization,” Kapp said. “I believe NFL Films has a legal — and a moral — obligation to pay retired players a fair share of the value the league makes from using our identities.”
Whether there’s a moral obligation is debatable. Whether a legal obligation will be determined in a New Jersey court of law.