Why Does Jim Brown Care About His Likeness?

Why Does Jim Brown Care About His Likeness?

Because it is awesome, that’s why.

Famed football player Jim Brown is taking EA Sports to court over the use of his “likeness” in Madden football games. Again. What’s the big deal with his likeness anyway?

Brown contends that EA Sports has used the number in Madden without his permission. A judge has ruled that this falls under free speech. Understanding Brown’s image and the decades he has spent creating it sheds light into why he is continuing to go after EA Sports.

The owner of the Cleveland Browns told Brown to pick Hollywood or football. Not one to blink, Brown picked movies, leaving behind a NFL career that included 3 MVP awards and over 12,000 rushing yards. He averaged over a hundred yards per game, something that both Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith could not match.

In The Dirty Dozen, Brown played a soldier who was slated to be hung for killing a white officer in self-defence. This was the racial charged 1960s, and for the next decade, Brown would take roles in Hollywood that challenged stereotypes.

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The 1970s brought a slew of blaxploitation films (black exploitation films). The films often depict crime, drugs and prostitution. Some critics have championed them as serious works of the black experience, and others have derided them as a product of white Hollywood tapping into the black cinema audience.

Appearing in a handful of blaxploitation flicks, Brown was one of the bigger action stars of the 1970s. Whether it was Slaughter or Three The Hard Way, he played his characters with style, pizazz and class.

Brown’s spent longer working in Hollywood than he ever spent playing professional football. Out of all the players appearing in Madden, if anyone understands name recognition, imagine and, well, likewise, it would be Brown. He walked away from football to work in the dream factory. And he did it successfully.

His luck in the courtroom, however, is another story.

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