Fooch’s update #2: EA Sports offered up this statement to Darren Rovell. There is no explanation for why his name was censored out of the song in last year’s game.
“We made an unfortunate mistake with our Madden NFL soundtrack. Members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don’t have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn’t affect soundtracks. We messed up, and the edit should never have happened.
Fooch’s update: The NFL can’t help but step in it.
It’s disappointing and appalling @NFL & @EA took @Kaepernick7’s name out of my verse on Big Bank for Madden 19, like it was a curse word. When he's not a curse, he's a gift! Nobody from my team approved any of this.— Sean Don (@BigSean) August 2, 2018
Colin Kaepernick does not appear in Madden NFL 19, the latest iteration of the popular franchise. And by “does not appear,” I mean he’s not available on any team or as a free agent, and his name is censored out of a verse in one of the licensed tracks, “Big Bank” by rapper YG.
I came upon this while playing the game last night. This was using the latest roster update, which was available when I first launched the game. Kaepernick’s name was also scrubbed from a licensed track in last year’s game (h/t to @CurtJRinehart), well before he’d filed a grievance against the NFL, perhaps strengthening his case in the long run.
I have confirmed that the censorship of his name, as well as the word “white” in the context of the term “white folks” is also censored on Madden. Neither are censored in the official clean version of the track, which I purchased from Google Play last night to check.
EA has not responded to a request for comment on the matter as of the writing of this article.
As of the latest roster update, there are 19 free agent quarterbacks in Madden NFL 19, none of whom are Kaepernick. It’s worth noting that strong safety Eric Reid, widely considered to be shunned by the league for his protests alongside Kaepernick, is in the game as a free agent.
Finally, I can also confirm that players who have spent a full year outside of the league have, in the past, been included in the next year’s version of Madden.
The game has consistently shipped with players available in free agency for those who want to use those players in offline modes or franchise play. Personally, I planned on signing Kaepernick as a backup in my franchise mode, which is why I discovered this. I also signed Reid, a player who was not signed by other CPU-controlled teams in my franchise despite there being multiple teams with needs at the position and a lower overall player starting.
I intentionally did not sign Reid for multiple weeks to give him a chance at starting elsewhere, and he was not picked up, but that is most likely due to the CPU-controlled teams simply not being very smart about their decisions. I don’t think there is anything preventing Reid from being signed by CPU teams (created a separate franchise to test this and he was signed when I simulated to midseason) but I thought it worth noting.
The most interesting aspect of all of this, to me, is the name censorship. EA can dip and dodge (or simply just remain silent) regarding the fact that he’s not in the game, but the name censorship two years running is certainly odd.