'Madden 17' In-Game Announcers to Talk About Colin Kaepernick's National Anthem Snub
The protest, along with other current events related to the NFL, will make it into the game's commentary.
The latest version of EA Sports' blockbuster football franchise Madden will address the controversy surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose decision not to stand up during the U.S. national anthem at the beginning of last Friday's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers has become a national talking point.
Madden NFL 17 announcers Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis will discuss the protest as well as other larger issues pertaining to the current NFL season, a rep for FortySeven Communications, which does publicity for EA Sports, confirmed Tuesday. The game commentary will be regularly updated during the season to reflect real-world events.
"Kaepernick's decision will be briefly mentioned in-game, reflecting our commitment to authenticity in 'Madden NFL 17,'" an EA Sports publicist, whose comments were confirmed by FortySeven Communications, told video game website GameSpot. "Overall, our new commentary will mainly center around on-field performance, as well as major news like trades, free agency signings and injuries."
Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem has drawn both praise and criticism from both inside and outside the world of sports.
In an interview Monday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, film director and activist Spike Lee said that Kaepernick's actions followed in the tradition of similar protests from Muhammad Ali and fist-raising Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called Kaepernick's gesture "a terrible thing" during an interview with Seattle radio station KIRO.
"I think it’s personally not a good thing," said Trump. "I think it’s a terrible thing. And you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen."
Kaepernick, who in 2012 led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl since 1994, couched his decision to remain seated within the discourse of civil rights and violence against blacks.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," he said in an interview with NFL Media. "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."
The 49ers responded to Kaepernick's decision with a statement of their own:
"In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem," the organization said, as reported by NFL Media reporter Steve Wyche.