Cowboys Alum Darren Woodson Remains Vigilant for Himself… And His Clients
Cowboys three-time Super Bowl Champion safety Darren Woodson worked too hard to have someone take unauthorized advantage of his NFL accomplishments.
Woodson, 51, founded a company called Counterfind that enables brands and corporations to locate and remove counterfeit merchandise from on-line marketplaces and social media sites. Woodson starred for the Cowboys from 1992-2003 and is sensitive to sham artists capitalizing illegally on him, his former teammates, and his clients.
Woodson became alarmed a few years ago when he began seeing merchandise that was linked to him. He knew he hadn’t autographed nor authorized the knock-off items.
“When you take someone’s likeness, you take someone’s hard work away from them,” says Woodson. “I just felt that we needed to police this illicit area. I know what it’s like to be figuratively robbed and exploited. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”
The Organization of Economic Opportunity and Development estimates that trade in counterfeit merchandise last year alone represented 3.3% of all global goods…or more than half a trillion dollars. That’s a long way from some local hustler selling knock-off T-shirts outside a stadium 10 games a year.
Woodson met his eventual business colleagues at an earlier start-up called FanPrint that sells officially licensed merchandise. They decided to start Counterfind after seeing how counterfeiters were evading licensing laws. After identifying counterfeit goods for clients who range from the Cowboys to the U.S. Marine Corps, Counterfind uses an automated notice and takedown system unique to each online marketplace. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was so impressed with Woodson’s technology that he and his Blue Star Innovation Partners invested capital in Counterfind in 2018.
Woodson, an Arizona native, graduated from Arizona State with a degree in criminal justice. He says he always has been passionate about social justice and criminal law.
“I played 12 years in the NFL,” Woodson explains, “and then worked 14 years as an analyst for ESPN. This work at Counterfind is part of me right now. It’s another challenge, and I am not one to back down from challenges.”
Woodson is a member of the Cowboys’ prestigious Ring of Honor along with Pro Football Hall of Fame alumni such as Staubach, Lilly, and Emmitt Smith. Woodson himself recently was named one of the 25 semifinalists for the Hall’s 2021 Class.
We at NFL Alumni wish Darren Woodson much success with his business ventures and, hopefully, on his path to Canton immortality.