Colin Kaepernick will be suiting up again in the NFL, well virtually. Madden NFL 21 announced Tuesday (Sept.8) that the quarterback will be in the game as a free agent.
The news of Kaepernick’s inclusion in the game was definitely something nobody saw coming. It’s been four years since Kap was featured in the popular football video game franchise. He was last in the game back in 2016. At the time, he was still a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He just began his protest of kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to racial inequality and police brutality in the United States.
With his addition, he will be one of the top free agents in the game thanks to EA, giving him an 81 overall rating. Out of the 111 quarterbacks featured in Madden NFL 21, Kaepernick is ranked in the top 15. He’s even ranked higher than current New England Patriots starting QB, Cam Newton.
EA announced Kaepernick’s return via social media, and he will arrive in the game as part of a roster update. Along with a still of cyber-Kap, the video game company also delivered a statement on the decision revealing it worked with Colin to make this momentous occasion happen:
“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game. …
“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. We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”
Colin Kaepernick made his Madden debut back in 2011 before his meteoric rise to stardom in the league. He was a fixture in three Madden commercials, the most for appearances for any NFL athlete to this day. Kaep’s last appeared in Madden 17, which hit shelves on August 23, which also to be nine days after the 49ers preseason matchup with the Houston Texans where the Colin began his kneeling protest. In response, EA updated the game to include in-game commentary about Kaepernick’s protest.
When Kaepernick became a free agent following the 2016 NFL season and subsequently blackballed by the league, he was not included in the group licensing agreement which is negotiated by NFLPA. Basically, that means Madden lost the rights to have Kaepernick in the game, hence why he was absent from Madden 18, Madden 19, and Madden 20. There was also the incident where EA claims that Wokepernick was mistakenly scrubbed from two songs, Mike WiLL Made-It’s “Bars of Soap” and YG’s “Big Bank” (featuring Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Nicki Minaj), which were featured on the soundtracks for Madden 18 and 19.
The Undefeated is reporting that EA Sports approached Kaepernick and negotiated his rights. Sources close to the situation states he was very hands-on, even determining that his avatar will feature him rocking his signature afro and not braids. Kap’s in-game avatar will also have him raising the Black Power fist. That’s how he celebrated when he last took the field.
The Kaepernick update comes right on time as the NFL is gearing to kick-off its 2020-21 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To celebrate, Madden NFL 21 will be free-to-play all weekend. Whether this will help make the game any better is another story, we weren’t so pleased with the game in our hands-on review of it. Despite being panned by users and having the title as the lowest-rated Madden game ever, EA reports that the game saw “strong” first week sales and with “17 Million Games “Played in the New Mode, The Yard.”
We are happy to see Kap back.
Photo: EA Sports / Madden NFL 21