Listen. I might now absolutely jack about US-style football, but even I've heard of Colin Kaepernick. Unfortunately (if unsurprisingly), he's been absent from EA's hand-egg franchise for years - but today, EA finally changed that by adding the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to Madden 21 as a free agent in a free update. As an extra wee bonus, they're making this year's sports 'em up free to try this weekend.
The NFL might still be skirting around giving Kaepernick a team. But now, you can add him to your own Madden lineup - and with the stats he's boasting, you'd be a fool not to.
— Madden NFL 21 (@EAMaddenNFL) September 8, 2020
While his activism extends far beyond this one act, Kaepernick is famed for kneeling during the pre-game national anthem in protest against police violence against the black community back in 2016. He's been a free agent in the NFL (ie, not on any team roster) ever since - and because of that, he's been missing from every Madden entry since '17. This week, however, EA chose to add the quarterback as a free update, arriving with his own jersey and raised fist celebration.
"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," EA say in a blog post. "We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today."
While his exclusion from past games seems to stem from a quirk in the Madden's group licensing agreement with the NFL, Kaepernick was approached by EA about coming back to the game this year. PC Gamer reports that he had a "hands-on" role in his presentation, choosing an afro over his previous appearance in cornrows and choosing the Black Power fist as his celebration gesture.
To coincide with Kaepernick's inclusion, Madden 21 will be free to play on Origin from Thursday through Sunday.