Colin Kaepernick has been added as a playable character to Madden NFL 21. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback left the National Football League in 2017 to put his full efforts into social justice activism. This is the first installment of the Madden franchise to include Kaepernick since 2016.
Electronic Sports Arts announced Kaepernick would be added to the Madden NFL 21 roster on the morning of Tuesday, September 8, complete with a statement regarding the decision to bring the former star QB back to the field virtually despite no NFL team signing him.
“Knowing that our EA SPORTS experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football,” said EA in the statement. “We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”
Kaepernick sparked national controversy in the United States a half-decade ago when he began kneeling before the National Anthem at 49ers games in protest of police brutality. A large portion of American football fans, as well as players and coaches around the NFL, found Kaepernick's actions to be an insult to the game and the country.
Despite not playing in the NFL since 2017, Kaepernick has been 'ready' to return for nearly a year, but not a single team has shown interest. A commonly held suspicion is that Kaepernick is being black-balled by the entirety of the NFL for his political activism despite remaining in top shape to reclaim his status as a premiere QB.
EA has used its sports gaming presence to make statements or provide support in the past, and in working with Colin Kaepernick to bring his virtual avatar Madden NFL 21 is a recognition of both an available talent in the free agency pool and a viable NFL starter.
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