Former Detriot Lions great Barry Sanders put forth a legendary NFL career that earned him a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction. Sanders holds the recognition as one of the game’s greatest running back talents. However, he has had to recently take some legal action that involves the usage of his image.
Barry Sanders’ impressive NFL career
Despite stepping away from the game in the prime of his career, Barry Sanders put together an illustrious run in the NFL.
The former Detroit Lions great established himself as one of the game’s best running backs and greatest players. Sanders didn’t experience much team success, but he racked up numerous honors and records along the way that have cemented him as an all-time great.
Sanders finished his career ranked second all-time with 15,269 rushing yards along with an MVP award, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors, six First-Team All-Pro selections, four Second-Team All-Pro nods, and 10 Pro Bowl selections. He also led the league in rushing four times while is tied with fellow Hall of Famer Walter Payton for the NFL record with 10 seasons with at least 1,000 rushing yards.
Sanders holds numerous league marks, such as 25 games with at least 150 or more rushing yards and most consecutive campaigns with at least 1,500 rushing yards (four). All that has made him a household name, which has pushed him into legal action.
Barry Sanders taking legal action
Over the last few decades, Barry Sanders has become one of the most recognizable players in NFL history. Sanders established himself as arguably the greatest player to wear a Lions uniform.
A Detroit brewery recently chose to create a beer, Same Old Lager, that trolled the Lions by utilizing an 8-bit image form of the Hall of Fame running back on the bottle. It didn’t take long for the 52-year-old to take legal action as it quickly shut down the use of his image without his consent.
Sanders further clarified the situation via Twitter as he voiced that he had no affiliation with the company or gave any permission to use his likeness. The legal action immediately led the brewery to stop the production of that lager.
The entire situation is strange as the company proceeded forward without any permission from Sanders. The name of the beer, Same Old Lager, is a play on the phrase regarding the NFL team around Detroit stating “Same Old Lions” due to the team’s continued shortcomings.
The Lions have struggled to find success over the last three decades, with only one playoff win since 1991 in nine total appearances. Detroit hasn’t reached the postseason since 2016 and last won a division title in 1993.
Legacy forever tied to Detroit
The entire situation speaks to the importance of players protecting their likeness after their careers.
Barry Sanders is the most recognizable player in Lions’ history, while also being among the biggest sports stars in Detroit. Instances like this will crop up over the years as many other professional athletes will have to take legal action.
Beyond that, Sanders’ legacy is tied to his tenure with the Lions in the 1990s. He was the crown jewel of their offense, but the franchise never got over the hump in the playoffs. The front office struggled to put together a team that can compete for a Super Bowl.
Although he could have extended his career well beyond 10 seasons, the franchise’s shortcomings with him will always stick despite his greatest.