Madden 17 Will React to Colin Kaepernick's Decision to Sit During National Anthem
The San Francisco 49ers QB said he refused to stand and "show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick's decision to sit during the national anthem during multiple NFL preseason games this month has been one of the most-discussed stories in all of sports. Madden NFL 17 will be updated throughout the season with new commentary from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis, to reflect real-world happenings, and this includes Kaepernick's decision. An EA Sports representative confirmed this with GameSpot today.
"Kaepernick's decision will be briefly mentioned in-game, reflecting our commitment to authenticity in Madden NFL 17," a senior publicist for EA Sports said. "Overall, our new commentary will mainly center around on-field performance, as well as major news like trades, free agency signings, and injuries.
The QB sat during the national anthem before the 49ers preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday. He did the same for his August 20 game against the Denver Broncos. He told NFL media that he did this as his own form of protest over the treatment of "black people and people of color" in the US.
"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, according to GameSpot sister site CBS Sports. "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."
49ers coach Chip Kelly said, according to ESPN, "We recognize his right to do that. So, it's not my right to tell him not to do something. That's his right as a citizen."
Not everyone has agreed with Kaepernick's decision. Former teammate Alex Boone, whose brother served with the Marines in Iraq, said Kaepernick's decision not to stand was "shameful."
"You should have some f---ing respect for people who served, especially people that lost their life to protect our freedom," Boone said, as reported by ESPN. "We're out here playing a game, making millions of dollars. People are losing their life, and you don't have the common courtesy to do that. That just drove me nuts."
Kaepernick has said he will continue to sit during the national anthem until meaningful change occurs.
The EA Sports representative did not provide any details on what the Madden NFL 17 commentary team will say or when the update will arrive. Week 1 of the NFL regular season is still more than a week away, with the first game starting on September 8. The 49ers don't play until Monday, September 12, against the Los Angeles Rams.
As the EA Sports spokesperson mentioned, Madden NFL 17 is striving to have its commentating feel more authentic this year. It's doing that by bringing in Gaudin and Davis to the studio regularly throughout the NFL season to record new lines that will then be patched into the game. The thinking is that if a player or a team has a huge week, or some major off-the-field event happens, you'll hear about it in the game. This will further your immersion, EA claims, helping "blur the lines between a game of Madden NFL and a real NFL broadcast."
Though the regular season hasn't even kicked off yet, EA has already updated Madden NFL 17 with new dialogue from Gaudin and Davis to reflect the performance of players in the preseason.
It remains to be seen how many mid-season updates Madden NFL 17 will get, the extent of them, and how many instances of off-the-field issues will be added. A further layer of the Kaepernick situation is the politics at play. Whether or not Gaudin and Davis will use their platform to make any kind of statement (which would presumably need to be given the green-light by EA) is unknown, but we'll find out soon when the commentary update is released.
Davis tweeted this image below earlier today, showing himself and Gaudin in the studio presumably recording new lines for Madden NFL 17 that reflect what happened in the NFL's third preseason week.
This of course isn't the first time that the real-world actions of an NFL player have affected a Madden game. In addition to the regular ratings updates based on actual performance that happen, EA Sports has in the past removed players like Aaron Hernandez and Ray Rice after off-the-field issues.
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