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First Madden 15 screenshot features Colin Kaepernick with tattoos

EA Sports released the first screenshot for Madden NFL 15 and it features quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. The biggest difference to the game? The presence of tattoos.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

EA Sports released the first screenshot for Madden NFL 15 and it features 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. More importantly, it features a specific part of Kap that has drawn some criticism, but has also been hidden on Madden games.

Until the most recent contract between EA and the NFL, the league has prevented EA from putting tattoos on players. According to many gaming websites, the NFL has also placed various other restrictions limiting the potential authenticity. It looks like we finally have tattoos in Madden.

With the new contract between EA and the NFL, different terms may be in place that will hopefully benefit the game due to greater creative freedom. I am not sure if the game will include the tattoos of every player, or if the tattoos will be customized only for the star players.

After news broke about Kaepernick's new contract, there were usual disappointing criticisms of Kap's appearance (i.e., his tattoos and backwards cap). Members of the media point his tattoos and flat billed, sometimes backwards, cap as an indicator Kap is somehow not deserving of a large contract.

While I understand image is important to some people, the idea of what constitutes professional in the NFL has been evolving for sometime. As I wrote last year, Kap has never wanted to fit the standard image and has sought to break the antiquated "face of the franchise" stereotype.

Needless to say, it is good to see the NFL soften its view on tattoos and image associated therewith. On many occasions, Kap has indicated his tattoos were part of his self-expression. Last year, Jim Rome interviewed Kap regarding his "Against All Odds" chest plate tattoo. Kaepernick stated he hoped to get his tattoos back and have some of his true authentic likeness portrayed in the game.

If you want to see more on Kap's ""Against All Odds" tattoo and his take on how he was portrayed in Madden last year, here's the video.

As most of us know, technology has allowed EA the ability to render these athletes with incredible amounts of detail. It appears Kaepernick and other athletes will be getting their respective tattoos properly rendered. And, considering EA renders every blade of grass, it is about time we see the actual likeness displayed without NFL censorship.

As I understand it, EA has already included tattoos in the NBA and wrestling versions of its games. With the NFL finally beginning to change its views on tattoos and professionalism, it shows the NFL is willing to move past the stereotypes and allow these players the ability to be authentic to themselves.