Why Did EA Censor A Lyric About Colin Kaepernick In Madden 19? [Update]

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Colin Kaepernick is already being kept out the NFL by 32 owners terrified of his protests against police brutality and racial discrimination. It looks like he might also have been completely erased from the upcoming edition of Madden NFL, too.

For some reason, the newest edition of the Madden franchise censors a lyric making direct reference to Kaepernick in one of the songs on its soundtrack. The line in question, from Big Sean’s verse on YG’s “Big Bank,” is “You boys all cap, I’m more Colin Kaepernick.” The strange edit was first noticed by a Twitter user, and was subsequently confirmed by Pro Football Talk thanks to their advance copy of the game.


Anyone who’s played sports video games knows that they can be ridiculously puritanical when it comes to their soundtracks, but there’s no logical reason for EA to censor the last name of a football player, unless they’ve just completely scrubbed Kaepernick from their product as he continues to fight his collusion case against NFL owners. More confusingly, if the censorship was in fact a conscious decision from the makers of the game and not just a noticeable fuck-up, why would they bother choosing a song that mentions Kaepernick at all?

Kaepernick’s likeness was in the Madden game last year as a free agent, and the version before that also made a small reference to his decision to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. But it’s still unclear if he’ll be in Madden 19 in any capacity. We reached out to an EA Sports representative a couple of hours ago asking for comment on both the song censorship and Kaepernick’s appearance in the game. We’ll update if they respond.


Update (4:41 p.m.): According to Pro Football Talk, EA Sports also censored a reference to Kaepernick on its soundtrack last year, even though his likeness was in the game.

Update (8:51 p.m.): An EA Sports spokesperson tells Deadspin the bleeping of Kaepernick’s name in the song is the result of a misunderstanding, and will be corrected:

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.”