8th Circuit Affirms NFL Player Publicity Settlement

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On Thursday May 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit affirmed a 2013 settlement between NFL retirees and the NFL. A group of former players brought suit against the NFL seeking to be compensated for the use of their images.

The $50 million settlement received final approval of a Minnesota federal judge in November 2013, despite the objection of 19 players. Some of those players appealed and echoed their contentions that the settlement was unfair to the Eighth Circuit. Their main argument was that the funds were not used for direct payments to players.  Instead, a $42 million fund is to be set up to assist retired players with things like housing, career transition, and medical needs. Another portion of the settlement will be used to help set up a licensing agency to handle future publicity issues for retired players.

In 2013, the district court judge found the settlement to be fair, stating, “it will assist those who most need assistance, and will resolved the very problem that this lawsuit seeks to address by allowing former players true access to the value of their rights of publicity.” The Eighth Circuit agreed and upheld the ruling.

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