Fred Dryer Speaks With Sports Illustrated’s SI Now

Posted 5 August 2013

Fred Dryer on SI Now

Fred Dryer speaks with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and Maggie Gray about the case of Dryer v NFL.

To view a clip from the interview please visit: Fred Dryer on Lawsuit v. NFL

Why We Oppose the NFL Settlement

Posted 14 July 2013

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.

Deal on Image Use Divides N.F.L Retirees

Posted 10 June 2013

image003

Detailed article in The New York Times June 4, 2013. Read full article.

The Dryer Plaintiffs Continue to Oppose Proposed NFL Settlement

Posted 9 April 2013

Minneapolis, MN.  09 April 2013.  Despite objections made by six individual plaintiffs, on April 5 the Court in the Dryer v. NFL publicity rights case granted preliminary approval of the proposed settlement.  Now, all members of the class will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the proposed settlement for the Court to consider before it gives the settlement final approval.

First, to clear up any misimpressions, the six individual plaintiffs who oppose this settlement—Fred Dryer, Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Dan Pastorini, Joe Senser, and Ed White—did not request direct payments for themselves.  Instead, they opposed the settlement because it is unfair to the entire class and all class members—there is no assurance that even the neediest players will get one cent.  The Dryer Plaintiffs will continue to oppose the settlement because they strongly believe it is unfair to the class of all retired players for many reasons, including:

  • Each class member gives up all claims for the NFL’s unauthorized past and unlimited future use of his identity to promote the NFL.
  • There is no guarantee that any class member whose publicity rights will be lost will receive payment or benefit through the settlement.  Instead, the settlement money goes to existing charities, not players.  The proposed settlement does not even identify those charities.
  • There is no procedure for any class member to submit a claim to receive direct benefits through the settlement, and there is no assurance that class members will be able to submit requests to the charities receiving settlement funds.
  • The settlement does not adequately fund the Licensing Agency or guarantee that it will be capable of generating any revenue.  The Licensing Agency merely duplicates existing commercial licensing companies and has no access to NFL game footage.

The settlement is still not final because the Court must go through a final approval stage which happens over the next several months.  Every class member will have to decide among three options: (1) participate in the settlement; (2) object to the settlement; or (3) exclude himself from the class.  A class member who wants to object to the settlement or to exclude himself from the settlement must do so in writing.  The deadline for a class member to object or to exclude himself from the settlement is August 30, 2013.  The Court will hold a hearing to consider arguments about final approval, including objections to the proposed settlement, on September 19, 2013, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Media Contacts:

Jon Bier, Senior Publicist 646 541-5256 jon.bier@sweeneyvesty.com

Amelia Vereb, Account Director 614 286-7226 amelia.vereb@sweeneyvesty.com

“Original Dryer Plaintiffs” Oppose Proposed NFL Settlement in Retired Players’ Right of Publicity Lawsuit

Posted 26 March 2013

Proposed NFL deal opposed: “Players give up everything – get nothing”

Minneapolis, MN – (March 26, 2013) – Six retired National Football League (NFL) players—the “Original Dryer Plaintiffs”—who filed a class action complaint against the NFL alleging that their publicity rights were violated in NFL productions, all oppose a proposed settlement.

“The proposed settlement requires retired players to surrender all their past and future publicity rights – and receive nothing directly in return,” says lead plaintiff Fred Dryer, who played in the NFL between 1969 and 1981. Dryer remains the only player in NFL history to record two safeties in one game.

The Dryer v. National Football League case seeks fair compensation for retired players whose identities have been used in NFL Films and elsewhere after their contracts expired.  Dryer filed the lawsuit with fellow retired players Elvin Bethea, Jim Marshall, Dan Pastorini, Joe Senser and Ed White.

On March 18, 2013, the NFL and other retired players submitted a class-wide settlement proposal to the Court.  Contrary to the NFL announcement on that day, the case has not been settled.  In fact, the Original Dryer Plaintiffs oppose the proposed settlement, largely because no retired player who forfeits his rights will receive any direct payment or benefit from the settlement funds.  The Court considered arguments on preliminary approval of the proposed settlement at a hearing on March 22 in Fort Myers, Florida.

If retired players or heirs of deceased prior players wish to know more about the proposed settlement, they can visit www.dryervnfl.com. For another viewpoint, please visit www.nflretireepublicitysettlement.com.