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Thursday, June 04, 2009

NFLPA settles lawsuit

The NFL Players Association has reached a $26.25 million settlement with retired players who had successfully sued the union for cutting them out of lucrative marketing deals.

Hall of Fame cornerback Herb Adderley, who filed the suit, confirmed the settlement on Thursday, telling The Associated Press that he's "elated that this thing is coming to a close."

"It's a great feeling and I'm happy to be a small part of it," said Adderley, who was traveling to Washington, D.C., where he was scheduled to appear at a press conference on Friday to discuss the settlement.

NFLPA official George Atallah confirmed the settlement, which ends an appeal filed by the union in the case.

The settlement amount is close to the $28.1 million the NFLPA was ordered to pay after a federal jury ruled in favor of the players in November. The jury determined the union failed to include retired NFL players in deals with Electronic Arts Inc., the maker of the "Madden NFL" video game, and other companies.

The NFLPA had appealed the ruling in February.

Adderley filed the lawsuit in 2007 on behalf of 2,056 retired players who contend the union failed to actively pursue marketing deals on their behalf with video games, trading cards and others sports products.

The settlement was described by retired players attorney Ron Katz as a "historic first step" by the NFLPA in beginning to heal its rift with its former players. Katz credited new NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who took over as union chief in March as the successor to the late Gene Upshaw. Smith has called healing the rift between retired players and the union a top priority.

"(Smith) put his money where his mouth is," Katz said. "We think (the settlement) is consistent with what De Smith has been saying, one team, one locker room, one voice. This is a real step to a reconciliation."

by the associated press

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