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Friday, September 11, 2009

Hut, Hut, Suit: Yet Another Little-Known College Football Player Sues EA Sports for Allegedly Stealing His Image

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 6:30 AM

click to enlarge Computer NERDS appear to have won in the end, Ogre
  • Computer NERDS appear to have won in the end, Ogre
Every couple of months, it seems to happen. No, we're not talking about Oakland Raiders victories (though we bet that'll be an accurate assessment). Yet another obscure former college football player has graduated from football to the full court press, and filed a suit against videogame giant Electronic Arts for allegedly ripping off his likeness and the National Collegiate Athletic Association for making it all too easy to do so.

We've written about previous legal challenges brought by underachieving Bay Area native and Arizona State quarterback Sam Keller as well as former Rutgers slinger Ryan Hart and -- nostalgia alert! -- onetime California Golden Bear Troy Taylor. This time, the player is that acme of anonymity, an offensive lineman -- and not exactly a standout lineman at that.

Byron Bishop was a sometime starter at the University of North Carolina who finished his injury-marred college career last year. Bishop and his attorney are well aware that no videogame user is choosing the '09 Tar Heels so they can play Bishop at guard. But his class-action suit filed earlier this month in San Francisco federal court, claims that Redwood Shores-based EA has made billions off the free labor of college athletes like him.

When it comes to recounting these suits, one is reminded of Gov. Ronald Reagan's quip about redwood trees -- if you've seen one, you've seen them all. That's not a knock on Bishop's credibility, but his allegations are rather similar to those of the players who proceeded him.

In short, Bishop thinks it's no coincidence that the player listed as starting guard on the Tar Heels in this year's edition of NCAA Football wears No. 76 -- Bishop's number. He also has the same height, weight, skin tone, hair color, hair style, and home state (South Carolina) as the real Bishop.

What's more, as this suit and others contend, the NCAA makes it very easy to simply upload team rosters and, in a matter of nanoseconds, convert "No. 76" to "Byron Bishop."

If this -- or any -- of the suits gains traction ... well, look out. Byron's class-action lawsuit estimates "many thousands" of former players are eligible for compensation. In this game, unlike college or professional football, there is no official to toss the yellow hanky for "too many men."

H/T   |   Courthouse News

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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