Chris Spielman sues Ohio State to block use of player images

FILE - In this May 1, 2015, file photo, Chris Spielman speaks at the 2015 NFL Football Draft, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
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One of Ohio State's most famous football stars has sued the university over a marketing program he says used athletes' photos without permission and robbed them of compensation.

Linebacker Chris Spielman filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court in Columbus on behalf of current and former Ohio State football players, including running back Archie Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and 1975.

Among programs targeted by the lawsuit is a Honda-sponsored collection of 64 banners hung around Ohio Stadium featuring photos of former players.

The lawsuit wants the marketing programs stopped and the ex-athletes compensated.

An Ohio State spokesman said he was looking into the matter.

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CHRIS SPIELMAN:

"This litigation is not about Chris Spielman, it is about all of the former college athletes who are unfairly being used by IMG and other corporate entities for financial gain. I personally do not have a financial interest in the outcome of the banner program as my share in any recovery will be donated directly to the athletic department of The Ohio State University. My concern is about the exploitation of all former players across this nation who do not have the platform to stand up for themselves while universities and corporations benefit financially by selling their name and likenesses without their individual consent. My hope is that this litigation will level the playing field for those affected players, and that they too can benefit from the dollars flowing into collegiate athletics."

ARCHIE GRIFFIN:

"Although I am not the named Plaintiff in the class action litigation, I am in full support of the right of former athletes to receive compensation from corporations and universities who benefit from the unauthorized use of players names and likenesses. There is no greater supporter of collegiate athletics than me, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities provided to me as a former student athlete. However, the recent landscape of collegiate athletics has changed, and these institutions and corporations have a duty to treat all former athletes fairly. As long as the players and universities partner together, this will be a 'win-win' situation for all."

GENE SMITH, DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS:

“We immensely value our relationships with all of our former student athletes. Ohio State is aware of the lawsuit that Chris Spielman has filed, and we are in the process of reviewing it.”

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