Celtics legend Bill Russell joins lawsuit against the NCAA

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Of all the areas from which the NCAA is under attack, a lawsuit accusing the organization from benefiting from the likenesses and images of players without compensating them is maybe the most dangerous one.

And the suit is spot on. You can buy historic videos of NCAA hoops games, but the players don’t ever see a dime. You can buy video games where the point guard for Nebraska seems incredibly similar to the actual point guard at Nebraska, but those players never see a dime during or after college.

Now, Celtics legend Bill Russell has joined the lawsuit, reports Bloomberg.

Russell, who led the University of San Francisco to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, said in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Oakland, California, that the association sells $150 videos of the team’s championship games. At least 54 video clips featuring him are available through the website of the NCAA’s for-profit business partner and photos of him through an NCAA on-line photo store, according to the complaint…

“Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” Jon King, an attorney for the former players, said yesterday in an e-mail.

For the record, both the NCAA and EA Sports (also named as a defendant) deny any wrongdoing.

I hope the NCAA gets what is coming to them.