Misuse of Berra's name costs network

Updated: September 16, 2005, 4:02 PM ET
By Darren Rovell | ESPN.com

Apparently, you can't really say everything you say.

That's apparently what Yogi Berra has proved to Turner Broadcasting.

The network has agreed in principle to pay the former New York Yankees catcher for using his name without his permission in an advertisement for its "Sex And The City" reruns. The ad asked consumers about the definition of the word "Yogasm."

One answer to the multiple choice question included "sex with Yogi Berra."

In January, Berra filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court, asking for $10 million. The lawsuit pointed out that the 80-year-old Berra is "a married man and has children and grandchildren. He is a deeply religious man who has maintained and continues to maintain a moral lifestyle, and has a spotless reputation for integrity, decency and moral character."

Both parties agreed for the matter to be mediated, and the settlement was worked out. Terms of the settlement are confidential, but Berra's lawyer Louis Smoley, a partner of Davidoff, Malito & Hutcher, told ESPN.com that the sum was "substantial." Smoley said the damages were greater because of the nature of Berra's unwilling association with the advertisement.

"It was a very serious misuse of his name," Smoley said.

The ad appeared in print and on buses and in subway stations in the spring and summer of 2004.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter