Unable to cash in on a new contract thanks to the lockout, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle has decided to seek millions in a lawsuit against Bayer AG, Bayer USA and Athlon Sports for unauthorized use of his image on Alka Seltzer and a football preview magazine, his agent announced.
“Part of this national marketing campaign was to place an image of our client Eric Weddle from when he was an All-American football player at the University of Utah on Bayer’s Alka-Seltzer antacid boxes,” the statement asserts.
“These boxes appeared throughout the United States at various Wal-Mart’s, Walgreens, CVS’s, supermarkets, and local pharmacies. Additionally, the defendants used this same image of Eric to advertise and promote Athlon Sports’ college football preview magazine.
“Though this campaign never identified Eric throughout any advertisements, it was clear from the photo in question, that the image used was of Weddle, bearing the number 32 worn during his collegiate playing days at Utah. It is the same jersey number that Eric has worn for his entire NFL playing career.
“At no time were Bayer AG, Bayer USA, nor Athlon Sports authorized to use this image for commercial purposes. Eventually Eric was left with no other recourse but to file this complaint in the Southern District of California.”
No matter where Weddle plays the rest of his career, I sure hope he gets used to seeing the photo of him on those Alka Seltzer boxes at games.
Listen, I’m all about protecting your rights, but I have a hard time believing that a company the size of Bayer would put out a product without a piece of paper somewhere along the line giving them permission to use the image. As for Athlon Sports, how do you prevent a magazine from using something that is by all accounts public? If a magazine is previewing football and they want to use a picture of you playing football, I don’t know how you’re supposed to prevent them from doing so.
Either way, here’s to hoping the lockout ends soon so there isn’t anything related to “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz” that makes the front page of football news.