One of Ohio State University's most famous football stars has sued the school over a marketing program he says used athletes' photos without permission and robbed them of compensation.
Linebacker Chris Spielman filed the class-action antitrust lawsuit in federal court in Columbus on Friday on behalf of several athletes, including running back Archie Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975. Spielman calls the ability to negotiate use of his name a basic human right. He says Ohio State is more than welcome to use his name and image any way it wants. Spielman says the problem arises when a corporate sponsor is attached to his name and picture without his permission. Sports apparel firm Nike is declining to comment on the lawsuit targeting its "Legends of the Scarlet and Gray" vintage jersey licensing program and other apparel contracts with Ohio State. Nike spokesperson Brian Strong says the company doesn't comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit also targets Honda Motor Company over a Honda-sponsored program of 64 banners hung around Ohio Stadium featuring photos of former players. Honda says it has a three-decade-old relationship with the university and hopes the matter will be resolved quickly.