Last Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Dick Butkus sued the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando,* which gives out the Butkus Award to the nation’s premiere linebacker each year. Butkus licensed the Club to use his name and likeness in connection with the Award and even helped the Club get and protect its rights in the Butkus Award. But Butkus alleged that the Club concealed that helping it secure trademark rights would prevent Butkus from using his name in connection with other awards and/or charitable endeavors. Butkus has attempted to terminate the parties’ agreement, but the Club has allegedly told him he has not right to terminate. Butkus’s attorney was quoted in this USA Today story explaining that this suit was not about money. Instead, Butkus believes that if he controls the award named after him, he can better benefit charities that he supports.
* He actually filed in the Central District of California — Dick, nothing is more Chicago than you and Da Bears. How could you file this suit in California? But do not worry Chicagoans, Butkus’s attorney says that should Butkus when his suit, he will likely bring the Butkus Award and related activities to Illinois. Welcome home Dick.