NFL reviewing violence in licensed video games

As part of the NFL's efforts to limit hard hits by players on the field, the league is investigating whether games that use its license are glorifying violence.


According to an story, the NFL is taking a closer look at NFL-endorsed games' portrayal of illegal hits and other behavior that the league is trying to discourage on the field. As a Sports Illustrated column pointed out a couple of weeks ago, the after-the-whistle hits in Midway's NFL Blitz run counter to the message the NFL is trying to send by cracking down on excessive player penalties on the real turf. While the focus of the attention is clearly on NFL Blitz, the report also pointed to the fact that penalties can be turned down or off in the simulation-style games from Sega and EA.

The core issue is that serious penalties are on the rise in the NFL. The players who have been hit by heavy fines from the NFL have pointed to the disparity in how the NFL is trying to limit violence on the field, yet keeps its trappings in media portrayals like highlight reels and also allows a more intense version of the game to be marketed in video games.

At this point, it's unclear what sort of action the NFL review may lead to. Both the NFL and the NFL Players Association earn licensing fees from allowing games to use the NFL logo, rosters, and player likenesses, so they do have a business interest in the continued success of football video games.

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