Ed O'Bannon: An All American All Over Again

Leave it to the Trojan LA Times to publish baseless garbage letter smearing one of the greatest Bruins of all time. I was just as appalled as Barnes2JJ when I read the letter in the LA Times yesterday by some guy from New Port Beach attacking Ed O based on lies. Of course what the LA Times completely failed to do was report how Ed O's law suit against the NCAA has captured the attention of country coast to coast in a positive. I will get to some of that coverage below. Before I do that have to share Ed O's own words re. why decided to take action against the NCAA. Ed O blogged on Lost Lettermen on why he decided to fight the NCAA:

It’s been a long time that we have been exploited. Things have got to change, for crying out loud.

Maybe the people who deserve compensation and have been exploited will no longer be exploited. Maybe now the NCAA will hold true to what it says it is: a non-profit organization.

The NCAA has been doing people wrong for a long time. It’s about time something changes. That’s the bottom line.

We haven’t gotten into the odds of winning the case. And I can’t say I followed previous cases about paying college athletes very closely, or at all for that matter. But I will be following this one closely.

If I’m viewed as someone who’s linked to this case ahead of being viewed as a former Player of the Year and UCLA ballplayer, that’s just the way it is. I just feel like it’s my duty to do this. [...]

I have absolutely no idea how long this case could go. I’m in it for the long run.

It’s not often you get to change the game. And it’s not often you get to make an impact on a lot of people’s lives — whether they know it or not. How someone would not want to do that is beyond me.

You must read Ed O's full post to get a sense how passionate he is about this lawsuit and it shouldn't leave any doubt about his convictions and principles behind this fight. In his words you can FEEL the same FIRE we saw from Ed O on the court, when he took the entire Bruin Nation on his back for an unforgettable magic carpet ride. I think those who were fortunate enough to watch him in person for four years will get the same goosebumps when we saw him leading our team. Now he is getting to lead an entire generation of players in what appears to be with same determination and sense of purpose that captivated all of us for 4 unforgettable years.

Fortunately for Ed O the sports world today is not as ignorant as the Trojan lovers editors in the Trojan LA Times who never seem to waste an opportunity to publicize cheap shot smearing Bruins. Number of basketball observers and national sports columnists have praised Ed O's willingness to stand up on behalf of many other athletes. More on their takes after the jump.

Our friends at Rush the Court are saying "it’s about effin’ time":

Frankly, it’s about effin’ time.  As Dan Wetzel poignantly notes in his article breaking the story today, the players are painted into a (legally unrepresented) corner at 17 or 18 years old when all they’re really worried about is getting their eligibility to play college sports.  We understand why the NCAA doesn’t want its current players profiting off of their likenesses while an amateur, but why does the NCAA retain 100% of those rights for the rest of those players’ lives?  Why does Texas Western profit off of 1966 jerseys of #14 Bobby Joe Hill, but not the player (or the estate in Hill’s case) some 40+ years later?  Same thing with Jerry Rice’s MVSU #88 jersey?  Or, as O’Bannon stated in his complaint, why doesn’t he see a dime for an EA Sports video game licensed by the NCAA that clearly shows his silky smooth left-handed collegiate "self" running around making shots and ripping down rebounds as a 1995 UCLA Bruin?  It’s absolutely ludicrous, and we’d really like to see the NCAA take it on the chin this time around.

William C. Rhoden of the New York Times wrote how Ed O's move will leave a "lasting image" of "standing up to the N.C.A.A.":

Every year, beginning in their freshman season, scholarship athletes are compelled to sign mountains of forms.

How many athletes or parents or guardians read the forms? How many challenge the athletic department? College administrators and coaches pay lip service to "educating the kids," but how many insist that their new recruits know exactly what they are signing?

More to the point, how many recruits — and parents of recruits — have the nerve to tell Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski or Tennessee’s Pat Summit that, based on a lawyer’s advice, they are not signing anything granting a release of their image.

All involved usually are too filled with gratitude and ego to consider reading between the lines.

"Until someone says something, stuff can go on," Southall said. "Nobody wants to be the athlete who’s blackballed. Nobody wants to be the test case that’s thrown out."

Ed O’Bannon wishes he had raised the question and resisted 15 years ago. Perhaps as a result of his suit, future athletes won’t have to.

Meanwhile, David Moltz from Inside Higher Ed wrote about The Right Profile in this case:

McCann [Michael McCann, professor at Vermont Law School and a legal expert for Sports Illustrated, BN Ed.] said the breadth of the O'Bannon lawsuit – focusing on all uses of athletes' likenesses, not just those in video games – strengthens the case. But the case's chief advantage, he said, is the quality and visibility of those involved – the lawyers and the main plaintiff.

"The fact that attorneys of the caliber of those involved would want to pursue this case sends an important signal," said McCann of Michael Hausfeld, lead lawyer in the case, and Hausfeld LLP, his high-profile, D.C.-based law firm. "Also, in the past, players who none of us knew who they were, not to undercut their legal claims, brought forth cases. To have Ed O’Bannon – a guy of this magnitude who is not controversial, well-liked and will have access to the media to keep this in the public forum – is important."

Michael McCann has more on the media roundup featuring takes from legal anlaysts and hoops observers (overwhelmingly positive) on his Sports Law Blog.

So, needless to say it was pretty amusing to see the drivel LA Times decided to publish about a living Bruin legend, despite by all accounts once again he is back in the spotlight for all the right reasons, and leading as an All American off the court. Too bad for the Trojan LA Times, Ed O will have the Bruin Nation and what looks like majority of the country (from coast to coast) behind him.

GO BRUINS.

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