Wednesday, July 08, 2009
"Evidence of Participation"
Props to former college QB Sam Keller for leading a class-action lawsuit against Electronic Arts and the N.C.A.A. for using the likenesses of college players in video games without compensation.
The N.Y. Times article quotes a Christine Plonsky, Women's Athletics Director at Texas with a hilarious defense of the practice, "[we]don’t view uses of their imagery as exploitative, but mere evidence of participation.”
Not quite sure what that even means, but considering that the games don't use the player's real names it doesn't strike me as much evidence. And if all the games are is just proof that these guys play college ball, then don't take money from EA Sports.
Would a college collect and publish for profit the most promising short stories from a freshman creative writing class, change the names of the authors, maybe use a thesaurus and change a few adjectives or two without compensating the students or crediting their "participation" by name?
Would a college put out a CD featuring the best songs from the students in its Theatre Department and change the names of the singers and musicians (maybe name the cellist 'Cellist # 7)?
Of course, the NCAA says the suit is without merit. No attack on the glorious NCAA ever has any merit. We can just continue pretending that these student-athletes are akin to the glorious Olympic philosopher-athletes of ancient Greece while pulling in dumb-dumb dollars from any source possible. And old men in the media can continue to defend the NCAA, saying that our young footballers and hoopsters need the education, need those formative years on a college campus while turning a blind eye to the borderline high-school graduates that make up the vast majority of the players in Major League Baseball, National League Hockey, professional Tennis and many Olympic sports.