Electronic Arts’ latest entry in its iconic pro football video game series, Madden NFL 19, won’t be out for another eight days, but it is already drawing its share of controversy in the light of the NFL’s recent stand on players who kneel during the national anthem. That’s because reports claim former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s name was edited out from the lyrics of a song in the upcoming game’s soundtrack.
According to Pro Football Talk, the song “Big Bank” by rapper YG (featuring 2 Chainz, Big Sean, and Nicki Minaj) received the usual edits many songs go through when used in the soundtracks of video games. There were several lyrics removed, including the “N-word,” multiple profanities, “vague” sexual references, and the use of the acronym CBD, which refers to a marijuana byproduct containing cannabis. While those edits came as no surprise, it was also revealed that Kaepernick’s name was scrubbed from the following line rapped by Big Sean.
“Feed me to the wolves, now I lead the pack and s**t / You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick”
The censored line was reportedly noticed first by Twitter user “jeanclervil,” who posted a seven-second clip where the quarterback’s name was silenced out in “Big Bank.” In the minutes that followed, the video was retweeted by Kaepernick’s girlfriend, radio host Nessa Diab, with the apparent censorship corroborated by Pro Football Talk, which relied on an advance copy of Madden NFL 19.
At the moment, EA has yet to issue a comment on the apparent censorship of Colin Kaepernick’s name from the Madden NFL 19 soundtrack. While Twitter users have mostly reacted negatively to the move, others offered their own theories, with one user suggesting that EA might not have the rights to use Kaepernick’s name due to the fact that he hasn’t played in the NFL since he opted out of his San Francisco 49ers contract early last year.
Pro Football Talk, on the other hand, opined that EA shouldn’t have used a song that includes Kaepernick’s name in the lyrics to begin with, as that would have “avoided any and all controversy and backlash” ahead of Madden NFL 19’s August 10 release date.
Since he first decided to kneel during the singing of the national anthem in 2016, Colin Kaepernick has been a polarizing figure in the world of professional football, with his actions earning the ire of President Donald Trump, who suggested in September 2017 that players who protest the national anthem and “disrespect the flag” should be fired by their teams. As noted by SBNation, the NFL and its player’s association decided in July to freeze its anthem policy, two months after the league approved changes that gave the option for players to stay in the locker room if they wish, but required them to stand for the national anthem if they choose to come out for it.