Six Super Bowl Champion Bears Sue Over Rights to Song

Six former Chicago Bears players who helped their team win the National Football League’s 1986 Super Bowl are suing over proceeds from their Grammy Award-nominated song, the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Jim McMahon, the team’s quarterback that year, Richard Dent, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman, receiver Willie Gault and three others claim a Chicago woman and a related marketing firm kept proceeds from the song and video that were supposed to aid needy families.

A complaint by the players, who call themselves the Shufflin’ Crew, was filed yesterday in state court in Chicago, two days before the Super Bowl game in MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

“The Shufflin’ Crew never granted defendants permission to use or otherwise benefit in any manner from the Shufflin’ Crew members’ identities, images, names photographs, likenesses, voices and performances in the Super Bowl Shuffle,” after September 1986, the ex-players claimed.

Led by Coach Mike Ditka, the Bears defeated the New England Patriots 46-10 in the 1986 Super Bowl, played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. It was the franchise’s first appearance in a Super Bowl game and its only victory in one.

The Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos will vie for this season’s championship on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Rights Agreement

The former players, including Steve Fuller, Mike Richardson and Otis Wilson, are suing Renaissance Marketing Corp. and Julia Meyer, whose late husband, Richard, ran Red Label Records, a company they say they signed a rights agreement with in 1985. Renaissance is Julia Meyer’s exclusive marketer for the Super Bowl Shuffle, according to the complaint.

Richard Meyer wrongly assigned to himself Red Label’s rights to the Shufflin’ Crew performance, which Julia Meyer assumed when her husband died, according to the complaint.

The ex-players are demanding an accounting of the proceeds from Shuffle, which they say they’ve been denied, and imposition of a trust over the money.

A listed telephone number for Renaissance has been disconnected. Julia Meyer couldn’t immediately be located for comment.

The Super Bowl Shuffle in 1986 received a Grammy nomination for best rhythm & blues performance by a duo or group. The award ultimately went to Prince and the Revolution for “Kiss.”

The case is Dent v. Renaissance Marketing Corp., 14-L-001003, Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court, Law Division (Chicago).

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