EA Sports apologized Thursday for deleting Colin Kaepernick's name from songs on the soundtrack of the video game "Madden 19," which is set to be released on Aug. 10.
A Twitter user with the handle @jeanclervil posted a video Thursday with the song "Big Bank" by rapper YG playing within the game. Like many songs on the E-rated game, several lyrics are edited out for content and profanity.
So is the quarterback's name, which normally appears in the song in a verse performed by Big Sean. The line normally reads, "You boys all cap, I'm more Colin Kaepernick."
Instead, the quarterback's name was digitally removed.
EA issued a statement Thursday evening that read: "We made an unfortunate mistake with our Madden NFL soundtrack. Members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don't have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn't affect soundtracks.
"We messed up, and the edit should never have happened. We will make it right, with an update to Madden NFL 19 on August 6 that will include the reference again. We meant no disrespect, and we apologize to Colin, to YG and Big Sean, to the NFL, to all of their fans and our players for this mistake."
'It's disappointing and appalling'
After the deletion came to light, Kaepernick's girlfriend, radio and TV personality Nessa, retweeted @jeanclervil's tweet and commented, "Oh!!!!! @EAMaddenNFL who told you to edit Colin's name out???? @nfl ? @NFLPA Curious minds want to know. Thanks Jean for the info!!! If you guys see more shady stuff send it over."
Big Sean had tweeted Thursday afternoon, "It's disappointing and appalling @NFL & @EA took @Kaepernick7's name out of my verse on Big Bank for Madden 19, like it was a curse word. When he's not a curse, he's a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this."
Kaepernick responded to Big Sean, "Much love brother! Thank you for having my back! (raised fist emoji)"
TMZ Sports reported Thursday, citing sources close to YG, that the rapper was unaware his track would have Kaepernick's name edited out of the game version.
After news emerged about the edit in this year's version of the game, others discovered that "Madden 18" also had a song on its soundtrack with the quarterback's name apparently removed.
"Bars of Soap" by artist Mike WiLL Made-It normally includes a line reading, "She be hopin' that I take a knee like Kaepernick, yes," but the words "like Kaepernick" were scrubbed from the Madden version. EA Sports' statement did not address the apparent Madden 18 edit.
That edition of the game was released in August 2017, two months before Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL after being unable to find a team that would sign him. In between the release of the game and the filing of the grievance, the debate about protests during the national anthem -- which Kaepernick started in August 2016 -- was thrust into the spotlight by comments from President Donald Trump at a rally in Alabama in September.
The NFL has attempted to distance itself from anthem protests, and it passed a new policy this offseason requiring players who are not in the locker room to stand during the anthem, but the policy has been put on hold while the league and NFL Players Association discuss the matter. Trump has continued to voice his opinion on the subject, praising Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for requiring his players to stand for the anthem.
The league has licensed "Madden NFL" since "Madden NFL '94" was released 1993, allowing the game to use its names, logos, stadiums, etc. The game was previously known as "John Madden Football" since it debuted in 1988, when it used teams that loosely resembled actual NFL teams.