Fox Broadcasting is fighting motions in several courts filed by a bunch of ex-athletes to compel it to share information related to its agreements to televise college football and basketball games. It’s tied into the class action suit filed by former NCAA players over the way the organization forces them to sign over their rights to their names and images in perpetuity. (And why should that be a big deal? After all, the NCAA tells us over and over, most of ’em will go on to something other than pro sports anyway.)
Anyway, part of Fox’ argument about why it shouldn’t have to comply is that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t approve.
“Although an athlete may insist on being paid when an advertiser uses his or her image to endorse a restaurant or sell cars, it is well settled that television networks may freely broadcast and distribute footage of sporting events without obtaining each participant’s consent,” says Fox in a statement to a Los Angeles court on Thursday.
The network goes on to say that any rule to the contrary would “infringe on the public’s First Amendment right of access to newsworthy events and matters of public interest” and that by requiring consent, “it would be impossible to continue televising sports.”
Fox says that the argument that athletes are entitled to a share of TV revenue is “farfetched” and that it has a constitutional right to televise sports without paying each athlete.
All that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness stuff is fine… as long as it doesn’t cost anything.