Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before two NFL preseason games has ignited the world of sports over the last week and a half. Now that controversial protest will be integrated into the commentary of Madden NFL 17.
EA Sports previously announced that commentary for the newest edition of Madden will be updated throughout the season to reflect real-world stories in the NFL, both on and off the field. Commentators Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis will be popping into the EA studios regularly to record new commentary that reflects the current state of things in the league, and EA informed GameSpot that an upcoming update will include Kaepernick’s protest.
A senior publicist at EA Sports said the following to GameSpot: “Kaepernick’s decision will be briefly mentioned in-game, reflecting our commitment to authenticity in Madden NFL 17. Overall, our new commentary will mainly center around on-field performance, as well as major news like trades, free agency signings, and injuries.”
The San Francisco 49ers quarterback remained seated during the national anthem before his team played a preseason game against the Denver Broncos on August 20, and he did the same thing on August 26 when the 49ers took on the Green Bay Packers.
Kaepernick explained his actions to CBS Sports: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Reaction to Kaepernick’s protest has been mixed around the league.
49ers coach Chip Kelly supported his player’s constitutional right to express himself freely, but former teammate Alex Boone said Kaepernick’s decision was “shameful.”
Kaepernick told members of the media that he will continue to sit during the anthem. He said the following to reporters after the game last Friday during a Q & A: “Yes. I’ll continue to sit. I’m going to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change and when there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country-is representing the way that it’s supposed to-I’ll stand.”
EA Sports has not provided details on what the Madden commentary team will say about Kaepernick, or when the update in question will arrive. The 49ers play their first regular season game on September 12 against the LA Rams.
EA has already updated Madden 17 with new dialogue that reflects the preseason performances of players around the league.
There has been no indication as to how many mid-season commentary updates Madden 17 will receive or how often the updates will include off-the-field issues.
The purpose of these updates is to make the Madden experience feel as authentic as possible. EA wants to “blur the lines between a game of Madden NFL and a real NFL broadcast.” This endeavor should make commentary in Madden NFL 17 a more interesting and immersive experience than what is usually on offer in sports games. Hopefully, EA will undertake similar initiatives with the rest of their sports properties in the future.
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